Congratulations to James Triantos, who was named “Offensive Player of the Year” in the Arizona Fall League.
Also, the Cubs have released the following minor leaguers: RHP Derek Casey, RHP Michael McAvene, RHP Anthony Mendez, RHP Gleiber Morales, RHP Wilber Rodriguez, RHP Tomy Sanchez, RHP Jarod Wright, LHP Jose Aquino, LHP Scott Kobos, C Brayan Altuve, C Malcom Quintero, C Jake Washer, OF Raino Coran.
McAvene is the big name here. When he was drafted in the third round out of Louisville in 2019, he was someone who was expected to move fast through the minor leagues. Instead, he struggled badly with control and never made it above High-A South Bend.
- The Astros are reportedly promoting bench coach Joe Espada to be their new manager. A press conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT today.
- Chandler Rome explains why the Astros made this decision. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- This is kind of Cubs news, but is also sort of Brewers news. Lori Nickel writes that Brewers fans shouldn’t consider Craig Counsell a villain for leaving for a better opportunity. I’m sure that column went over well in Wisconsin.
- Ken Rosenthal has a the latest MLB rumors, including the dilemma faced by the Brewers around Brandon Woodruff. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Ben Clemens has Fangraphs list of the Top 50 free agents.
- Kiley McDaniel ranks the top free agents and projects how much they’ll get (ESPN+ sub. req.) on the open market. Seven years and $147 million for Cody Bellinger? Get ‘er done, Jed.
- Gabe Lacques looks at whether or not Shohei Ohtani will get a $500 million contract.
- Hannah Keyser outlines what we know about what Ohtani is looking for in his next team. She forgot to mention “Outfield walls with ivy.”
- Gordon Wittenmyer asks MLB executives where Joey Votto might play next season. The Cubs are mentioned, but not as a favorite.
- Dayn Perry looks at the biggest question for each MLB team.
- Anthony Castrovince has the 13 teams likely to be the most important players in the off-season. The Cubs are number four.
- Chad Jennings writes that teams looking at signing free agent hitters this winter are going to be willing to accept a lot of risk. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- After missing almost all of 2023 with an injury, free agent starter Frankie Montas should not be overlooked by teams in the market for pitchers, writes Chris Gilligan.
- Alden Gonzalez writes about the Padres and the market for outfielder Juan Soto, with some rival executives saying that San Diego has to trade him this winter..(ESPN+ sub. req.)
- The White Sox are reportedly willing to trade anyone other than Luis Robert.
- Mets president David Stearns says the team has no plans to trade first baseman Pete Alonso. Sure, Dave.
- Bob Nightengale has that and other observations from the General Manager Meetings.
- David Adler has a profile of Japanese right-hander Shōta Imanaga, who is expected to be posted, perhaps as early as today. I’ve seen stories linking the Cubs with Imanaga.
- Kennedi Landry has five questions for the Rangers this winter.
- R.J. Anderson ranks the top 25 prospects heading into next season. Two Cubs on his list. You probably know which two.
- Jim Callis ranks all 2023 rookies based on their projections for their long-term value.
- The Padres’ Fernando Tatís Jr. and the Guardians’ Andrés Giménez were named as the Platinum Glove winners for 2023.
- With the Phillies announcing that Bryce Harper is going to become a full-time first baseman. Michael Baumann looks at the challenges Harper will face on defense, including making throws with his oft-injured elbow.
- Giants outfielder Michael Conforto says the players were responsible for San Francisco’s disappointing season and not fired manager Gabe Kapler.
- Oakland mayor Sheng Thao wrote a letter to 15 MLB owners, urging that they reject the Athletics move to Las Vegas. That’s not going to happen, but she does point out a lot of things than several owners appear to be upset about, including MLB waiving the relocation fee for the A’s.
- Mike Petriello unveils the newly-announced Statcast data that shows how good (or bad) each pitcher is at shutting down the running game.
- Congratulations to the Surprise Saguaros, who are this year’s Arizona Fall League champions.
- And finally, in more Shohei Ohtani news, he will be donating 60,000 gloves to Japanese elementary school students in order to stir more interest in baseball among young people.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.