Hot Stove News
Cubs got off to an early start on Wednesday squelching a report by WSCR’s Bruce Levine that the North Siders were interested in Cleveland outfielder Nick Swisher. A Cubs source reached out to several Chicago media members, including Levine, saying the report was not true. Its the second time the Cubs have put an end to a rumor as they also denied involvement in trying to acquire RHP Jordan Zimmermann from the Nationals a few weeks ago.......Don’t expect any decision on Jon Lester to be made soon as he’s scheduled to meet with the Braves on Thursday. According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox have offered Lester a six-year deal in the $110-120 million range.
Rule 5 Draft List
The Cubs 40-man roster stands at 38 players with 20 pitchers, three catchers, nine infielders and six outfielders. Thursday is the deadline for placing players on the 40-man roster to be protected in the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings. The Cubs will likely add C.J. Edwards and have another opening that I believe will go unfilled. Other Cubs prospects on the Rule 5 eligible list include Gioskar Amaya, John Andreoli, Jeffrey Baez, Zach Cates, Hunter Cervenka, Gerardo Concepcion, Willson Contreras, Blake Cooper, Kevin Encarnacion, Dustin Geiger, Marco Hernandez, Dillon Maples, Andrew McKirahan, Carlos Penalver, Ivan Pineyro, Tayler Scott, Rock Shoulders and Tony Zych. If any of those players are selected by another team they must stay on that team’s 25-man roster for the 2015 season. Only teams with 39 players or less on their 40-man are eligible to select during the Rule 5 Draft in December.
Arizona Fall League
Here’s a recap of the Cubs’ position players in the AFL. Addison Russell played 11 games and was shut down for the winter to get ready for the 2015 season. He hit .196/.261/.357 with 2 HR and 8 RB but fanned 12 times in just over 50 plate appearances......Bijan Rademacher only played in 11 games as a member of the taxi squad but made the most of his opportunity, leading Mesa with a .350 average and finished with a .404 OBP and .525 SGL. The outfielder knocked in nine runs and homered in his final start. He had five multi-hit games.........After getting off to slow start, 1B Daniel Vogelbach hit close to .300 over his final 10 games and finished the AFL with a slash line of .261/.398/.319. Vogelbach didn’t show any of his power but did have four doubles and walked 17 times in 21 games..........Jacob Hannemann opened some eyes in the AFL and showed why the Cubs selected him in the third round two years ago. Hannemann hit .279/.328/.410 with four doubles and two triples in 17 games........Daniel Lockhart replaced Russell in the lineup but only saw action in six games. He was 5-for-20 with three RBI and stole a base playing second, short and third.
Venezuelan Winter League
No Cubs prospects saw action.
Dominican Winter League
Arismendy Alcantara led off the game with his first homer and added two more singles but it wasn’t enough as Licey fell to Gigantes 6-3............Junior Lake singled and walked in six plate appearances during Estrellas’ 9-4 win over Escogido. He scored twice and stole three bases, leading the DWL with 11.
Mexican Pacific Winter League
Christian Villanueva doubled and walked in four plate appearances during Obregon’s 5-4 win over Mazatlan. Villanueva is now hitting .240 and it was his third double.
Puerto Rican Winter League
Seven games and counting for John Andreoli as the centerfielder singled and walked in three plate appearances to extend his hit streak. Jonathan Mota walked and scored the only run during San Juan’s 3-1 loss to Caguas.