Arbitration, free agents, lefties
The deadline for teams to sign arbitration is a few weeks away and all four Cubs who are eligible— Jake Arrieta, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and Justin Grimm—have not agreed to terms. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, then an arbitrator will determine the 2017 salary.
Aroldis Chapman (Yankees—5 years, $86 million) and Dexter Fowler (Cardinals—5 years, $82.5 million) have agreed to new deals but Jason Hammel, Travis Wood, Trevor Cahill, Chris Coghlan, Munenori Kawasaki, and Joe Smith remain free agents. Hammel may be the biggest surprise but he’s likely to land on a roster before the end of spring training. The Cubs 40-man roster stands at 38.
I wrote earlier about the Cubs lack of lefties but as spring training approaches the Cubs have added several arms. Brian Duensing, David Rollins, Caleb Smith and Jack Leathersich are on the 40-man roster while Daniel Moskos was signed to a minor league deal.
Venezuelan Winter League
No games were played and the playoffs start Jan. 2. First round match-ups are Margarita vs. Lara; La Guaria vs. Caribes; and Zulia vs. Aragua.
Dominican Winter League
1B Taylor Davis hit a two-run homer and scored twice while 3B Chesny Young doubled home three runs in Escogido’s 12-2 win over Gigantes (0-2). Aguilas (3-1) moved into first place in round-robin play with a 6-1 win over Licey (2-1)
Puerto Rican Winter League
No Cubs prospects saw action. Santurce faces Carolina while Mayaguez and Caguas battle in the other semi-final series that get underway on Jan. 3.......1B Yasiel Balaguert is on Carolina’s roster and the 25-year old hit .277/.323/.353 in 31 games with a homer and 10 RBI......RH Miguel Mejia has made 22 relief appearances for Caguas, posting a 1.64 ERA over 22 innings with 16 K and 3 BB...... Corey Black and Jacob Hannemann both played for Santurce but Black has returned to the states and Hannemann hasn’t played since Dec. 9.