Cubs

How Cubs responded to Brett Anderson’s passive-aggressive shot on Twitter

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USA TODAY

How Cubs responded to Brett Anderson’s passive-aggressive shot on Twitter

PITTSBURGH – The Cubs gave Brett Anderson $3.5 million guaranteed, a clear spot in their rotation and the chance to pitch in front of what had been a historic defensive unit, making him the only guy on the Opening Day roster who hadn’t already earned a World Series ring.

The Cubs got close to a zero return on that investment, but those are the gambles teams take on the free-agent market with talented, injury-prone pitchers, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.

Anderson put up an 8.18 ERA in six starts and accounted for 22 innings before going on the disabled list for the 10th time since 2010. It became out of sight, out of mind as the lefty recovered from another back injury, got designated for assignment in late July and signed a minor-league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

But Anderson resurfaced Sunday night on Twitter after two decent starts for Toronto – the last-place Blue Jays lost both games – and took a passive-aggressive shot at the Cubs: “It’s crazy what happens when you aren’t tinkered with and can just go out and pitch.”

“I’m happy he’s healthy and he’s pitching,” pitching coach Chris Bosio said before a 12-0 loss Labor Day loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, walking away from a group of reporters in PNC Park’s visiting dugout. “I’ll just leave it at that.”

Jake Arrieta had every chance to scream told you so, but he never said anything quite like that when he blossomed into a Cy Young Award winner after a change-of-scenery trade with the Baltimore Orioles. Still, the entire industry noticed how Bosio allowed Arrieta to be himself and worked with the unique crossfire delivery that made him comfortable.

Bosio has sharp edges to his personality – and is still dealing with the recent death of his father – but there is no denying his influence in transforming the Cubs from a last-place team into a championship organization.

Whether it’s helping coach up Kyle Hendricks into a major-league ERA leader – or market trade-deadline chips like Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija – Bosio highlights individual strengths and never believes in a cookie-cutter approach.  

“That’s why I love Twitter so much,” said manager Joe Maddon, who was not aware of Anderson’s post on social media or apparent issues with the staff. “How many characters in Twitter?

“To purvey your thoughts, your deepest, darkest thoughts. That’s what the President does every day, oh my God. You get everything out there in 140 characters, my God, it’s so in depth, it’s so meaningful.”

Maddon repeatedly talked up Anderson in spring training as someone who – if healthy – could perform like a top-of-the-rotation starter. Anderson can also be extremely entertaining on Twitter and refreshingly honest while dealing with the media.  

“When a guy’s going to say something like that, he’s had a tough year,” Maddon said. “God bless him, I hope he comes back. I hope he wins 20 games next year. I mean that sincerely. But when a player has a tough year, it’s on the player.”    

Amid all that optimism in Arizona, Anderson explained how Bosio’s reputation and this pitching infrastructure made the Cubs such an attractive destination to reboot his career.

“It’s one of those things where he’s not trying to reinvent the wheel,” Anderson said after his first Cactus League outing in late February. “It’s more trying to limit the pressure on my back and mild mechanical adjustments where I don’t land on my heel as much – and kind of land on the ball of my foot or my toes – so it’s not such a whiplash effect.

“He’s had a good track record with health, especially the last couple years, and hopefully I can fall in line there, too.”

Cubs Talk Podcast: Did MLB owners push players too far from negotiating table?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Did MLB owners push players too far from negotiating table?

David Kaplan is joined by the NBCS Cubs coverage team of Gordon Wittenmyer, Maddie Lee and Tim Stebbins to discuss the negotiations between the MLB owners and players that have seemingly broken down. They also dive into the Cubs' financial situation, how the pandemic is impacting them and whether it could mean they start parting ways with key pieces.

(1:37) - Where are the negotiations headed?

(5:50) - How can you bridge the gap if they are so far apart?

(11:11) - Are the Cubs at fault for the financial situation that they are in?

(17:32) - Can baseball recover if there isn't a season?

(23:42) - Will the Cubs move money off the books?

Listen here or below.

Cubs Talk Podcast

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Cubs release 30 minor leaguers, contribute to massive cuts across baseball

Cubs release 30 minor leaguers, contribute to massive cuts across baseball

 

The Cubs have released 30 minor league players, NBC Sport Chicago learned on Thursday, contributing to a massive wave of cuts across baseball.

According to a post on Brock Stewart’s verified Twitter account, the Illinois native was among those who the Cubs released  on Thursday. The 28-year-old right-handed pitcher was a non-roster invitee at Spring Training this year.

“Just got that call a little bit ago,” Stewart’s post read. “Very tough to hear and realize. I’m not done though. I’m ready to go. I’ll be ready whenever. I have worked hard and got better. This bulls**t will not get the best of me.”

Stewart quote-tweeted a report by ESPN’s Jeff Passan, which said across baseball, teams released “hundreds” of minor league players on Thursday. More cuts are expected, with the contraction of the minor leagues and the cancellation of the MiLB season likely on the horizon.

Many of the Cubs' cuts would have been part of the usual spring training process of finalizing the roster. But MLB shut down campus two weeks before scheduled season openers, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Cubs' releases this week were in line with the majority of the industry, supporting Passan’s report that “upward of 1,000” players could be let go. 

NBC Sports Chicago confirmed that the Cubs have committed to paying weekly stipends to their minor leaguers though at least June, a month longer than required. That includes the players who were released Thursday. The Athletic was the first to report the continuation of Cubs farm system stipends.

In reponse to the coronavirus pandemic, all 30 MLB teams had agreed to pay minor leaguers $400 weekly stipends though May. While at least 10 teams, including the Cubs, are reportedly committed to extending pay through June at a minimum, the A’s notified their minor leaguers this week that their stipends would stop after May 31. It is unclear how many teams will continue to pay the players that they released. But according to a report by The Athletic, the White Sox will also provide the 25 minor leaguers that they have cut with stipends through at least June.

Gordon Wittenmyer contributed to the reporting of this story.