Cubs add Blanco to Maddon's coaching staff

Cubs add Blanco to Maddon's coaching staff

CHICAGO -- Henry Blanco is back with the Cubs, joining manager Joe Maddon's staff as a quality assurance coach. It might not be the only change.

Blanco, 43, who played for the Cubs from 2005-08, was a coach on the D-backs' staff this past season. During his tenure with the Cubs, he batted .255 in 208 games, including a .292 average in 58 games in '08.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Rizzo thanks Renteria, calls Maddon hiring 'exciting news'

Cubs first baseman in Chicago to promote his 'Laugh Off for Cancer' event

Rizzo thanks Renteria, calls Maddon hiring 'exciting news'

CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo made a point of reaching out to Rick Renteria shortly after he was dismissed as the Cubs manager, but also has talked with new skipper Joe Maddon and can't wait to start working with him.

Rizzo, who was in Chicago on Friday to promote his first "Laugh Off for Cancer" event Jan. 15, said the addition of Maddon was "exciting news."

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Cubs, A's to play Spring Training games in Las Vegas

Cubs, A's to play Spring Training games in Las Vegas

CHICAGO -- The Cubs are headed back to Las Vegas to play the Athletics in split-squad Spring Training games March 13-14.

The Cubs were already scheduled to host to the Indians on March 13 at Cubs Park and travel to Maryvale, Ariz., to face the Brewers on March 14. Game times have not been determined for the Chicago vs. Oakland games at Cashman Field in Las Vegas.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Cubs add prospect Edwards to 40-man roster

Move protects right-hander from Dec. 11 Rule 5 Draft

Cubs add prospect Edwards to 40-man roster

CHICAGO -- The Cubs added pitcher C.J. Edwards to the 40-man roster Thursday, protecting the right-hander from being picked in the Rule 5 Draft.

With the move, the Cubs' 40-man roster is now at 39.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Russell, Edwards rank among top prospects from AFL

Russell, Edwards rank among top prospects from AFL

The 23rd edition of the Arizona Fall League wrapped up with Salt River's win in the championship game over Peoria on Saturday. Once again, the AFL was jam packed with elite-level prospects.

That made putting together a top prospects list fairly easy. There were so many good players, it was decided to expand the list to a top 25, up from the typical 20. The list was compiled by Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and Teddy Cahill, along with feedback from a number of scouts who covered the league this fall. This list is more about long-term potential, but AFL performances were certainly taken into account.

More

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Wada puts on youth-fundamental clinic in Okinawa

Wada puts on youth-fundamental clinic in Okinawa

NAHA, Japan -- If anything, the fervor over Major League Baseball's All-Star team in Japan has only increased over the past two weeks. Early Wednesday evening, Red Sox manager John Farrell, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria and Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma visited Shuri Castle, Okinawa's seat of power for nearly half a millennium and the top tourist site on this southerly island outpost. Nearby, a group of schoolchildren were taking group photos in front of the castle.

Suddenly, one of the children noticed the big league ballplayers and screamed. The entire scrum began sprinting toward them, until a group of security officers managed to turn them back.

More

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Source: Lester makes free-agent visit to chilly Wrigley

Source: Lester makes free-agent visit to chilly Wrigley

CHICAGO -- Hopefully Jon Lester brought a warm coat to Wrigley Field on Tuesday.

Lester met with the Cubs in what was believed to be the second stop on his offseason tour of prospective teams, according to a source. The Wrigleyville area was in a deep chill because of an early blast of winter weather. It's up to Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer -- who know Lester from their days together in Boston -- to convince the lefty that it won't be this cold on Opening Night, April 5, at Wrigley Field.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Pipeline Perspectives: Bryant, Lindor the next ROYs

Big rookie seasons projected for Cubs third baseman, Tribe shortstop in 2015

Pipeline Perspectives: Bryant, Lindor the next ROYs

There's a good amount of subjectivity regarding baseball prospects. With the evaluation of talent being in the eye of the beholder, finding consensus is often difficult. Even Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLBPipeline.com don't always see eye to eye. They discuss their viewpoints regularly in a feature called Pipeline Perspectives. Submit a topic for them to debate.

A week ago, the Rookie of the Year Award winners were named. So we figured enough time had passed for the engraving to set in that we should look ahead to the 2015 ROY Award races.

More

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

NL Central projects to be most dominant division in 2015

Cubs expected to re-emerge, making group of clubs toughest in Majors top to bottom

NL Central projects to be most dominant division in 2015

As we speak, the most balanced, deepest and quite possibly toughest division in baseball is the National League Central.

You can search for a truly weak link in this group, but the search will be in vain. With the emergence of the Cubs as a force to be reckoned with, the division no longer contains a soft spot, a rest area or the expectation of a walkover anywhere within its borders.

More

Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Cubs turn attention to Lester after losing out on Martin

Cubs turn attention to Lester after losing out on Martin

CHICAGO -- The Cubs lost in their bid for catcher Russell Martin. Now, it's time to turn their attention to free-agent pitcher Jon Lester.

Lester was expected to meet with the Cubs this week, according to reports, to consider whether to rejoin president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, who was the left-hander's general manager in Boston.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Cubs acquire infielder La Stella from Braves

Chicago trades Vizcaino, also receives Atlanta's No. 4 international signing bonus

Cubs acquire infielder La Stella from Braves

CHICAGO -- The Cubs' middle infield just got a little more crowded.

On Sunday, the Cubs acquired left-handed-hitting infielder Tommy La Stella from the Braves, as well as Atlanta's No. 4 international signing bonus slot, for pitcher Arodys Vizcaino and three international signing bonus slots.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Rizzo hosts third annual 'Walk-Off For Cancer' 5K

Rizzo hosts third annual 'Walk-Off For Cancer' 5K

PARKLAND, Fla. -- Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo blasted two walk-off home runs during his 2014 All-Star season.

His latest came Sunday morning in his South Florida hometown for the third annual Walk-Off For Cancer at Pine Trails Park.

More

Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Cubs' Rizzo humbled to receive Branch Rickey Award

First baseman honored for humanitarian service

Cubs' Rizzo humbled to receive Branch Rickey Award

DENVER -- The more folks made a big deal of Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on Friday night, the more humble he became.

Rizzo was in Denver to accept the 23rd Annual Branch Rickey Award for humanitarian service. At 25, he is the youngest recipient. The award, which is a charity function of The Rotary Club of Denver and is presented by AMG National Trust Bank, has been given to six Hall of Famers. With the award came induction into the Rotary's Baseball Humanitarians Hall of Fame during a banquet at the McNichols Civic Center Building.

More

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Opening Night rivalry: Cards-Cubs playing first in 2015

ESPN2 will broadcast Maddon's debut at Wrigley as North Siders' new manager

Opening Night rivalry: Cards-Cubs playing first in 2015

A new chapter in the classic Cardinals-Cubs rivalry will have a quick start, as those two teams are scheduled to meet April 5 at Wrigley Field in the Sunday Night Baseball opener on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET.

Major League Baseball's 2015 Opening Night matchup was announced on Friday morning, and it will mark Joe Maddon's National League managerial debut for Chicago in the start of a three-game series against the two-time defending NL Central champions.

More

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Respect trumps results for Iwakuma and Wada

Team MLB pitchers don't let rough outings sour Japan Series experience

Respect trumps results for Iwakuma and Wada

TOKYO -- In many ways, what happened to Hisashi Iwakuma and Tsuyoshi Wada in Game 2 of the Japan All-Star Series hardly mattered.

It wasn't a big deal that Iwakuma's first competitive appearance in his home country since 2011 turned into a five-run, 10-hit drubbing at the hands of Samurai Japan. It did not matter that Wada's return to a Japanese mound proved similarly unsuccessful in an 8-4 loss on Friday that put the MLB squad into a 2-0 hole in the five-game series.

More

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Top performances, prospects from 2014 Fall League

A team-by-team breakdown of who impressed and how each club's top player fared

Top performances, prospects from 2014 Fall League

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Fall League is known as baseball's finishing school because it has graduated a ton of talent to the Major Leagues since it began play in 1992. The AFL has produced 212 All-Stars, including 35 in this year's Midsummer Classic, 25 Rookies of the Year, 13 MVPs and five Cy Young Award winners.

Based on the quality of the talent in the AFL this year, more big leaguers and stars are on the way. The league wrapped up its 23rd season on Saturday, with the Salt River Rafters outlasting the Peoria Javelinas, 14-7, for their fourth title and first since 2011.

More

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Cubs trying to add pitching to solid base

Top-line starter, innings-eater top offseason shopping list

Cubs trying to add pitching to solid base

PHOENIX -- Who doesn't like fun with math? Here's some that should be especially appealing to Cubs fans.

Take the 2014 performances of Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada, then add in those of free-agent targets Jon Lester and Jason Hammel. Here's what you get: a 47-33 record and 2.81 ERA over 702 1/3 innings. The secondary numbers include a 1.09 WHIP and 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings.

More

Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Cubs pick up right-hander Roach off waivers

Cubs pick up right-hander Roach off waivers

CHICAGO -- The Cubs continued to stockpile pitchers, claiming right-hander Donn Roach off waivers from the Padres on Wednesday.

With the move, the Cubs' 40-man roster is now at 38 players.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Prospect Hannemann sees stock rise thanks to AFL play

Performances in the desert can influence expectations, change career course

Prospect Hannemann sees stock rise thanks to AFL play

Playing in the Arizona Fall League can serve a number of purposes for the prospects who attend. Top prospects can put the finishing touches on their development en route to All-Star careers. Perhaps on the other side of the spectrum, several prospects who need to be protected will either earn spots on the 40-man roster or have made a strong enough impression with one of the other 29 teams to be selected December's Rule 5 Draft.

Every fall, Minor Leaguers raise their stock with their performances in Arizona. The caveats that are typically thrown out when discussing such matters: it's a small sample size and the AFL is always very hitter-friendly. Those are true, and as a result, evaluations have to be taken in context. But it's also undeniably true that every year, expectations around some prospects are heightened based on what they did during six weeks in the desert.

More

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Cubs eye pitching but avenue uncertain

Team exploring free-agent market, denies reported trade talks with Nationals

Cubs eye pitching but avenue uncertain

CHICAGO -- The Cubs are in the market for starting pitching, but they are not ready to part with some of their young infielders to fill that need.

Cubs officials denied a report Tuesday that they were in contact with the Nationals regarding a potential trade for right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. A source told the Chicago Sun-Times that the teams have mutual interest in a deal, but a Cubs official told MLB.com on Tuesday night that the report was not true. FoxSports.com also reported the Cubs' denials.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Rizzo being honored for charity work ahead of event

Cubs first baseman to receive Branch Rickey Award, then host 'Walk off for Cancer'

Rizzo being honored for charity work ahead of event

CHICAGO -- On Friday, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo will be saluted for his charity work. On Sunday, he'll be busy raising money and awareness in the fight against cancer.

Rizzo, 25, will be presented the 2014 Branch Rickey Award on Friday in Denver. He's the youngest person to receive the award, presented annually to individuals in baseball who contribute unselfishly to their communities and who are strong role models for young people.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Cubs not rushing to unload youth in big trade

Hoyer: Club unlikely to drain farm system with game 'going younger'

Cubs not rushing to unload youth in big trade

PHOENIX -- With front-end starting pitching as their Hot Stove priority, the Cubs know they could come up empty-handed. But should they fail to add an arm like Jon Lester, Max Scherzer or James Shields through free agency, don't expect them to immediately attempt to trade for an ace.

There has been speculation about the Cubs' interest in Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, Tigers left-hander David Price and Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, and it's easy to envision the packages of young talent that such a deal would require, as the Cubs' farm system is highly regarded.

More

Phil Rogers is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Theo reiterates no tampering, 'welcomes' investigation

Cubs eager to move forward after allegations surrounding Maddon hire

Theo reiterates no tampering, 'welcomes' investigation

CHICAGO -- Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said he welcomed an investigation by Major League Baseball into tampering allegations related to the team's hiring of Joe Maddon.

When Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman left to take a job as the president of baseball operations with the Dodgers, Maddon exercised an opt-out clause in his contract with the Rays and was named the Cubs' 54th manager in franchise history on Nov. 3.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Inbox: Which free agents are a match for Cubs?

Fans ask about adding veterans, Wrigley construction, rotation candidates

Inbox: Which free agents are a match for Cubs?

It's time to rev up the Cubs Inbox. Got a question? Send it to CubsInbox@gmail.com, and please include your full name and hometown.

Outside of pitching (because in my opinion pitching has been the Cubs' strong point and isn't a need), what are some potential offseason free-agent signings the Cubs could make? It seems what the Cubs need are veteran players with good on-base talents, low strikeout ratios and clutch hitters. The positions that seem to be the least deep are catcher and outfield. So, what about players such as Russell Martin, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Nori Aoki or Brett Gardner? They seem like their at-bat numbers are good and they hit well with runners in scoring position.
-- Forrest K., Lead, S.D.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Wrigley crews take care in moving caretaker's house

Built in 1923, structure to be restored and returned to location after renovation

Wrigley crews take care in moving caretaker's house

CHICAGO -- Wrigley Field groundskeeper Bobby Dorr once lived here. One of the Cubs' traveling secretaries called it home. And some players even wanted to stay there when they played for the Cubs.

On Friday, crews carefully moved what is known as the caretaker's house -- a brick structure built in 1923 that was located at the northwest corner of Wrigley Field, outside of the ballpark -- about 200 feet to a parking lot, where it will be restored.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Wada on MLB roster for Japan All-Star Series

Games between MLB stars and national team begin Tuesday

Wada on MLB roster for Japan All-Star Series

The postseason may be over, but there is still some exciting baseball to be played. A collection of the game's top talent will represent Major League Baseball next week when the Japan All-Star Series begins on Tuesday, and the roster for the MLB team was revealed on Friday.

Robinson Cano, Yasiel Puig, Evan Longoria and Jose Altuve headline a group of 29 players on the MLB All-Star team, which will be managed by Boston's John Farrell. The Major League squad will play a five-game series against Japan's national team, Samurai Japan.

More

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Hoyer: Cubs won't force offseason makeover

Downplaying flurry of rumors, general manager seeking balance between free agency, trades

Hoyer: Cubs won't force offseason makeover

CHICAGO -- Even before Joe Maddon was hired as manager, the Cubs were rumored to be on the verge of signing nearly every free agent on the market. They do have money to spend, but that doesn't mean they're going on a shopping spree this winter.

"One of the challenges we have right now is that we're literally linked to every single free agent," general manager Jed Hoyer said Friday. "Some of that is agent-driven to try to connect us to everyone because they realize we have some payroll flexibility. We've said all along if the right things line up, we could have an active offseason. We're not going to force it.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Cubs' Edwards works on offerings in Fall ball

Prospect seeking reliable option to accompany cutting fastball, curve

Cubs' Edwards works on offerings in Fall ball

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs' best hope for a front-line starter from their farm system is right-hander C.J. Edwards, whose prospect status has surged dramatically since the Rangers signed him as a 48th-round Draft pick from a South Carolina high school in 2011. Edwards came to Chicago in the Matt Garza trade during a 2013 season in which he led the Minors by averaging 12 strikeouts per nine innings.

Edwards' momentum slowed this year, however, when shoulder inflammation limited him to just 12 starts. To make up for lost innings and expedite his development against more advanced hitters, the Cubs sent him to the Arizona Fall League's Mesa Solar Sox. They've kept Edwards on a short leash, not allowing him to reach 50 pitches in any of his five starts, the latest of which came Wednesday afternoon against the Glendale Desert Dogs.

More

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Maddon, top prospects could lure free agents to Cubs

With payroll flexibility, club's focus turns to competing for playoff spot

Maddon, top prospects could lure free agents to Cubs

CHICAGO -- The Cubs may have made their biggest free-agent splash by signing Joe Maddon as their new manager. Maddon, who became available after exercising an opt-out clause in his contract, agreed to a five-year, $25 million contract with the Cubs on Monday, calling it a "once in a 107 years opportunity."

Who's next?

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

After 16-year career, Soriano hangs up spikes

After 16-year career, Soriano hangs up spikes

Alfonso Soriano is retiring from the Major Leagues after 16 seasons, according to a report from The Associated Press.

Soriano, 38, was released by the Yankees in July after playing in 67 games in 2014, the final year of an eight-year, $136 million contract he signed with the Cubs before the 2007 season. Soriano was selected to seven consecutive All-Star Games during his career and ranks 50th on the all-time home run list with 412.

More

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less