Cubs' best free-agent signing? Has to be Alou

Cubs' best free-agent signing? Has to be Alou

Before bidding adieu to the Hot Stove season, we asked our 30 beat reporters to look back at their club's past and answer the following question: Who is the best free-agent signing in the team's history?

We narrowed the choices with the following parameters: The signings had to be multiyear contracts, to exclude fluky one-year deals and to focus on players who got real commitments. And contract extensions don't count. Only instances when every team in the league had a chance to bid on the player were allowed, including international free agents who received Major League contracts.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs reportedly add free-agent lefty Anderson

Cubs reportedly add free-agent lefty Anderson

The Cubs have a deal in place with left-handed starter Brett Anderson, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal. The club has not confirmed the report.

Anderson, who made just three starts in 2016 due to various injuries, impressed the team at a recent bullpen session in Arizona, according to Rosenthal.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Candelario No. 5 on Pipeline's Top 10 3B Prospects list

Red Sox's Devers king of hot corner, Reds' Senzel, Blue Jays' Vlad Jr. follow

Candelario No. 5 on Pipeline's Top 10 3B Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2017 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Third base is definitely an offensive position. MLBPipeline's Top 10 Third Base Prospects list starts with two of the game's top power prospects (the Red Sox's Rafael Devers, the Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr.) and two of the best pure hitters in the Minors (the Reds' Nick Senzel, the Giants' Christian Arroyo).

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Keenan revels in Cubs' visit to White House

Lifelong fan writes President Obama's speech celebrating WS title

Keenan revels in Cubs' visit to White House

CHICAGO -- Cody Keenan went to his first Cubs game when he was 5 1/2 months old, tucked into a backpack on his father's back, so his allegiance to the team began at an early age. One week ago, he was in the East Room at the White House, listening to his boss, President Barack Obama, deliver what Keenan called his "dream speech" to salute the 2016 World Series champion Cubs.

"If you'd told me my last speech for him after 9 1/2 years would be about the Chicago Cubs World Series champs, I wouldn't have believed you," said Keenan, a Chicago native, who wrote the speech to celebrate his favorite team.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Happ No. 2 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 2B Prospects list

Moncada tops list again with Albies, Happ right behind

Happ No. 2 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 2B Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2017 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

He might have changed teams, but there isn't any doubt about who owns the top of this Top 10 second base prospects list.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Routine essential to Cubs prospect Candelario

Routine essential to Cubs prospect Candelario

CHICAGO -- Jeimer Candelario's promotion to the big leagues last July only lasted a few days, but it was enough to give the Cubs prospect a taste of what it's like, and show him what he needs to do.

Candelario, 23, said he learned the importance of developing a routine and that helped him last season at Triple-A Iowa, where he batted .333 in 76 games with nine homers, 22 doubles and 54 RBIs. The young infielder took part in Major League Baseball's Rookie Development Program, and said he's proud of the work he's done so far.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baseball world mourns Ventura, Marte

Baseball world mourns Ventura, Marte

The baseball world mourned the unexpected deaths of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura and third baseman Andy Marte on Sunday.

Ventura, 25, died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. Marte, 33, also died in a separate car crash Sunday in the Dominican Republic.

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Jesse Sanchez has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tito, Theo receive warm welcome in return to Boston

Former Sox manager and GM appear at writers awards dinner

Tito, Theo receive warm welcome in return to Boston

BOSTON -- For Terry Francona and Theo Epstein, Thursday was a night of recognition and reminiscing, but also a happy homecoming.

They were at the Boston Baseball Writers Awards Dinner on behalf of the Indians and Cubs, the two teams who staged an epic World Series less than three months ago.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prairie Home Companion releases 'We, Joe Maddon'

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Prairie Home Companion releases 'We, Joe Maddon'

The Cubs already have a pretty popular anthem. You may have heard of it? It's called "Go Cubs Go," and it only reached the Billboard charts for the first time this fall and was even performed on "Saturday Night Live," with Anthony Rizzo, David Ross, Dexter Fowler and Bill Murray lending their vocal abilities to the song. 

The classic NPR show, "Prarie Home Companion," added a new anthem to the mix in this week's episode with "We, Joe Maddon."

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Fans will be able to stream live games in '17

CHICAGO -- Cubs fans with CSN Chicago subscriptions will be able to watch games live via CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports app beginning with the 2017 season.

The in-market live stream offering will be available without additional costs to participating providers of CSN Chicago and their subscribers.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Smith misses HOF in final year on writers' ballot

Smith misses HOF in final year on writers' ballot

CHICAGO -- Whether Lee Smith will get into the Hall of Fame is now in the hands of the Eras Committee.

Smith received 151 votes (34.2 percent) in the last year the right-handed pitcher was eligible for Cooperstown in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, released Wednesday. Players need to appear on 75 percent of the ballots cast to earn election into the Hall.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sosa gains HOF support but remains well short

Sosa gains HOF support but remains well short

CHICAGO -- Sammy Sosa received enough votes to stay on the Hall of Fame ballot but was far short of the 75 percent needed to be elected into Cooperstown.

Sosa received 38 votes (8.6 percent) in the balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, announced on Wednesday. Players need to appear on 75 percent of the ballots cast to earn election into the Hall.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fly The WH! Cubs' epic White House visit

'This was a thrill for all of us,' Epstein says of Obama hosting World Series champs

Fly The WH! Cubs' epic White House visit

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama was briefly a Cubs fan on Monday, and he helped celebrate the team's first World Series championship in 108 years. It helped the Cubs that first lady Michelle Obama was in their corner.

The Cubs were feted at the White House by the president, who is a noted White Sox fan, but he knows the impact the North Siders' championship has had on people, including his wife. Michelle Obama had never attended one of the White House celebrations for a sports team until Monday.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs claim Floro off waivers from Rays

Cubs claim Floro off waivers from Rays

CHICAGO -- The Cubs added another reliever to the mix, claiming right-hander Dylan Floro off waivers from the Rays on Tuesday. With the move, the Cubs' 40-man roster now is at 39.

Floro, 26, was drafted by the Rays in the 13th round in the 2012 Major League Draft, and he made his Major League debut with Tampa Bay this past season. In 12 relief outings, he gave up seven earned runs over 15 innings, striking out 14 and walking five.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Former Cubs delight in White House festivities

Fowler, Chapman among 2016 team representatives to visit President Obama

Former Cubs delight in White House festivities

WASHINGTON -- Dexter Fowler, Aroldis Chapman, Chris Coghlan and Trevor Cahill are no longer on the Cubs' roster, but they contributed to the team's successful 2016 season and World Series championship, and they attended Monday's ceremony at the White House with President Barack Obama.

Fowler, who signed a five-year contract with St. Louis, posted on Twitter: "What an honor to be at the White House with my Cubs family. Can't wait to go back next year with my @Cardinals!"

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Exorcise regimen: Demons purged, Cubs eye repeat

Exorcise regimen: Demons purged, Cubs eye repeat

CHICAGO -- Tom Ricketts couldn't help himself.

In his comments welcoming fans to the Cubs Convention, Ricketts made it clear just how things have changed for his franchise.

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

Cubs allow '16 top pick Hatch to ease into pro ball

Cubs allow '16 top pick Hatch to ease into pro ball

CHICAGO -- Thomas Hatch, who was the Cubs' first selection in last June's Draft, didn't pitch in a Minor League game for the team after he was picked, but he did get exposed to life in the big leagues and the postseason.

Hatch, who was taken in the third round (No. 104 overall) out of Oklahoma State, attended instructional league in Mesa, Ariz., and then joined Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach to watch the Pelicans' playoff run. The right-hander did not pitch in 2015 because of a sprained ulnar collateral ligament that didn't require surgery, and then led Oklahoma State to the College World Series in 2016, logging significant innings.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hall of Famer Williams joins Cubs at White House event

Hall of Famer Williams joins Cubs at White House event

CHICAGO -- Hall of Famer Billy Williams was to attend a breakfast on Monday to celebrate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s holiday and listen to Ernest Gibson, who was to talk about his experiences with the civil rights movement. But Williams had to cancel. He joined the Cubs at the White House on Monday instead to celebrate the team's historic World Series championship.

"Going to see [President] Obama, who is the first black president, and celebrating Martin Luther King's birthday -- it'll be perfect for me," Williams said.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs get grilled by young fans at Convention

Cubs get grilled by young fans at Convention

CHICAGO -- Kids ask the darnedest things, like who's your favorite superhero, or whether you have superstitions, or how it feels to be World Series champions.

Pint-sized interrogators had the chance to ask Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora Jr., Javier Baez and Willson Contreras about a variety of topics during a "Kids Only" question and answer session on Saturday at the Cubs Convention.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

7th Heaven? Champs relive stressful WS clincher

Cubs owners, coaches remember nerves, jubilation of final Fall Classic game

7th Heaven? Champs relive stressful WS clincher

CHICAGO -- Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said he "died three times in Game 7." General manager Jed Hoyer would've preferred a 15-0 win instead of the nail-biter that resulted in the Cubs' first World Series championship since 1908.

Cubs owner Laura Ricketts said she felt like throwing up most of the night and had to calm her 10-year-old nephew, who was crying. A few days after the game, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said he had a nightmare that the team lost to the Indians. His wife blamed it on "postseason stress disorder."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zobrist: After missing trip in '16, DC visit is 'huge'

World Series MVP thrilled to travel to White House, meet President Obama

Zobrist: After missing trip in '16, DC visit is 'huge'

CHICAGO -- When the 2015 World Series champion Royals went to the White House last July at the invitation of President Barack Obama, Ben Zobrist wasn't able to go because he was busy with his new team, the Cubs. On Monday, Zobrist will get his chance.

Zobrist will be part of the Cubs contingent headed to the White House on Monday as Obama celebrates the 2016 World Series champs.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs Convention features club-themed game of 'Jeopardy!'

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Cubs Convention features club-themed game of 'Jeopardy!'

Here's a question for Cubs fans: How much do you know about your favorite ballclub?

Saturday at the Cubs Convention featured a game of Cubs-themed Jeopardy! The game pitted former Cubs players against each other. On one side were former position players Todd Walker, Dwight Smith, Bobby Dernier and John Baker, facing off against former pitchers Sean Marshall, Bob Howry, Glendon Rusch and Tim Stoddard. With play-by-play radio announcer Pat Hughes performing Alex Trebek's duties, the two teams faced clues about the 2016 World Series champions and recent Cubs history.

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Must-see DC: Cubs visit White House

Team set to formally meet a sitting President for second time as franchise

Must-see DC: Cubs visit White House

CHICAGO -- The Cubs are going to the nation's capital on Monday to meet President Barack Obama and celebrate the 2016 World Series championship, and everyone on the travel party is eagerly looking forward to the trip.

"It's exciting," said Jason McLeod, director of scouting and player development, who will accompany the team. "I [feel] giddy to get invited."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs replacing 'print-at-home' tickets with Ballpark app

Change among business-operations updates at annual Convention

Cubs replacing 'print-at-home' tickets with Ballpark app

CHICAGO -- Print-at-home tickets will become a thing of the past beginning in 2017 as the Cubs move to the MLB.com Ballpark app in hopes of eliminating fraudulent tickets altogether.

That announcement came Saturday afternoon on the second day of Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Grand Chicago hotel during the business-operations update. The ongoing Wrigley Field renovations, the possibility of hosting the All-Star Game and in-market streaming also were discussed.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fans really enjoyed Cubs Bingo at the Cubs Convention

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Fans really enjoyed Cubs Bingo at the Cubs Convention

This weekend, a glorious celebration of all things Cubs hit Chicago, as thousands of fans and several players came together at the 2017 Cubs Convention.

Among the many fan-centered festivities on Saturday included a spirited session of Cubs Bingo, which, you'll see below, elicited World Series-levels of excitement from the fans taking part.

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MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Addison Avenue: No roadblock too big for Cubs' SS

Addison Avenue: No roadblock too big for Cubs' SS

CHICAGO -- Addison Russell is a private man in a public game. He handles attention; he doesn't seek it.

While Russell thrives in the spotlight, he's a self-proclaimed "hometown guy" who is most at peace when he's in Pensacola, Fla., in the nest he's built for himself and his growing family.

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

Cubs Convention: Champs of a lifetime!

Fans get up-close look at trophy, continue title celebration

Cubs Convention: Champs of a lifetime!

CHICAGO -- The buzz at the Cubs Convention on Friday seemed louder and livelier than in years past, as fans were eager to celebrate the World Series championship, the first for the franchise in 108 years.

"Anyone who knows Cubs history knows that when they win a World Series, they always win the next year," Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said to a packed ballroom at the Sheraton Grand Chicago for the opening ceremonies.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.