Cubs

Why Cubs didn’t tender Cole Hamels a qualifying offer

Why Cubs didn’t tender Cole Hamels a qualifying offer

Cole Hamels is officially a free agent.

According to multiple reports, the Cubs didn’t tender Hamels a qualifying offer ahead of Monday’s deadline. Thus, he’s hitting the open market and able to sign with any team, as free agency kicked off on Monday.

Players are eligible to receive qualifying offers if they spent the entire season with one team and if they haven’t previously received it in their career. It’s one-year deal worth the mean salary of MLB’s 125 highest-paid players — i.e. $17.8 million this offseason.

If a player is tendered a qualifying offer, they have 10 days to accept or reject it. If the latter occurs, teams receive draft pick compensation if/when the player signs with a new team in free agency.

The Cubs tendered qualifying offers to Dexter Fowler (2016-17 offseason) and Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis (2017-18 offseason) in recent years. They would’ve been welcomed returns to the Cubs, but each were seeking multi-year deals and the Cubs knew the offers would be rejected. Thus, they tendered each offer so they wouldn’t lose Fowler, Arrieta and Davis for nothing.

By that logic, wouldn’t it have made sense for the Cubs to also tender Hamels a qualifying offer? Well, not exactly.

Hamels is 35 (he’ll turn 36 in December), older than any of the three aforementioned players when they received a qualifying offer from the Cubs. Age is obviously just a number, and Hamels showed in 2019 he still has something left in the tank.

However, it was also a tale of two seasons for the left-hander: pre-injury and post-injury. Before suffering a left oblique strain on June 28, Hamels had a 2.98 ERA in 17 starts. In 10 starts after he returned, he posted a 5.79 ERA, struggling with his command.

Hamels is out to prove the naysayers wrong in 2020, showing that his post-injury woes aren’t the real him and merely a result of how tough it was to get into a groove down the stretch.

“I don’t want to put that in the back of teams’ heads of how I finished,” Hamels said the day before his final start of the season. “I think I’m capable of what I was able to do in the first half - that’s who I am - and I can still get those good results for hopefully [the Cubs], if they consider that.

“But also, for other teams to know that I’m not the type of player that’s on the regression. This is what we’re gonna expect. It’s more so what I was able to do in the first half — the type of player that I am and the results that I can get out on the field.”

Teams will be interested in Hamels on the open market, and based on his comments he would be open to a Cubs reunion. His age and second half struggles may work against him in any negotiations but a one-year, $17.8 million offer would be very enticing for Hamels.

For the Cubs, it would put them back in the same place as last offseason when they picked up Hamels’ $20 million option for 2019.

Hamels’ option wasn’t the sole reason for the Cubs’ much-discussed 2019 budget constraints, but it played a part. And even though they have a number of players coming off the books this winter, things will still be tight. Kris Bryant and Javier Báez will receive raises in arbitration, and the Cubs will also be looking for upgrades at second base, center field and in the bullpen.

The Cubs could look to bring Hamels back for less than $17.8 million. He provides the team with a veteran presence in the clubhouse, and they could do a whole lot worse rotation-wise than a healthy Hamels.

But if he elects to sign elsewhere, on a deal worth more than they’re willing to offer, the Cubs will have to live with the fact they lost him for nothing.

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Cubs first spring training game in 2020 delayed due to inclement weather

Cubs first spring training game in 2020 delayed due to inclement weather

Our first glimpse at the 2020 Cubs will have to wait.

Because of forecasted inclement weather into the afternoon, the Cubs' first spring training game on Sunday will be postponed to later in the day.  This is to let the rain past and prep the field for the tomorrow's opener at Sloan Parka gainst the Oakland Athletics.

The Cubs game will now start at 7:10 CT instead.

And it's not just the game that is affected, the Cubs are encouraging fans to reconsider how they plan on getting to the ballpark.

"With high rain accumulation expected through the day, parking at Sloan Park could be limited," the Cubs said in a statement. "The Chicago Cubs and City of Mesa encourage guests to carpool, take public transportation or utilize ride sharing services."

The good news, no ticket exchange is necessary. So if you get there and the rains pass, you shouldn't have a hard time getting in.

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Anthony Rizzo trolls Astros, makes prediction for post-cheating scandal

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USA TODAY

Anthony Rizzo trolls Astros, makes prediction for post-cheating scandal

Anthony Rizzo's got jokes.

Thursday, Rizzo poked fun at the Houston Astros cheating scandal. The Cubs first baseman posted on his Instagram story "I think it's safe to say I won't lead the league in hit by pitches this year..." accompanied by a gif of three trash cans.

*Eyes emoji*

The Astros used a camera during their 2017 championship season to steal opposing teams' signs. Houston would relay those signs to their dugout, and someone would bang a trash can to signal to Astros hitters the exact pitch coming their way.

The scandal has players fuming league-wide, with more damning information advancing the story seemingly by the day. Now, there's an overwhelming feeling opponents will retaliate by intentionally plunking Astros hitters this season.

RELATED: Jon Lester crushes Rob Manfred for devaluing World Series trophy 'quite significantly'

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is warning all 30 teams consequences will come from any intentional beanballs. This could turn problematic fast, as umpires may overreact to any hit-by-pitch. Pitchers have the right to throw inside, and sometimes, a pitch just runs in too tight.

Rizzo is all too familiar with this, hence the bigger punchline to his post. The 30-year-old has been hit 145 times in his nine-year MLB career — second among all active players (Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo holds a slight 'advantage' at 150, albeit with six more seasons on his résumé). 

Rizzo notoriously stands on top of the plate, hence why he's plunked so frequently. If an Astro is hit more than him in 2020, one will rightfully make the connection to Houston's scandal.

In the meantime, we're here for Rizzo trolling, and he won't be the last player to do so at the Astros' expense.