With both split-squad games underway for the Chicago Cubs, it was announced that the team was able to agree to terms with 20 players who have less than three-years of big league service under their belts.
According to CBS Chicago, exactly 12 pitchers, one catcher, two outfielders, and five infielders were locked while the terms of these deals weren’t disclosed.
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Both Olt and La Stella will battle it out this spring to see who will get the Opening Day nod as the third base starter after the team traded away veteran left-handed hitter Luis Valbuena.
Alcantara, 23, will see some playing time at multiple positions this season as Joe Maddon‘s utility man. Don’t be surprised if he makes at least a handful of hot corner appearances.
With Rondon and Hendricks looking to help out the rest of their major league pitching staff this season, prospect Edwards still has quite a way to go before doing the same. Hendricks is coming off a stellar 13-start year in which he posted a 2.46 ERA, 47/15 K/BB ratio, 1.08 WHIP and 7-2 record through 80 1/3 innings.
Rondon on the other hand is entering his third year hoping to duplicate his 2014 totals. In 64 appearances out of the bullpen, the 27-year-old reliever posted a career best 2.42 ERA with 29 saves, 63/15 K/BB ratio and a 1.06 WHIP over 63 1/3 innings of work.
He’ll be competing with fellow relief pitcher Pedro Strop for the closer job during Cactus League play.
After the team dealt former 2012 gold glove winner Darwin Barney to the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, it was clear that Baez was on the verge of making his debut.
Despite launching nine home runs and 20 RBI in 52 games, his strikeout total and .169 batting average has been a topic of discussion as of late.
New Cubs’ hitting coach John Mallee was in Puerto Rico over the winter to help Baez fix his mechanics. Mallee – a native of Chicago– held the same position with the Florida Marlins and the Houston Astros prior to joining the Cubs.
He’s helped guys like second baseman Jose Altuve and designated hitter Chris Carter improve their hitting. Carter finished with 37 home runs and 88 RBI with a .227/.308/.491 clip while Altuve posted a career best .341/.377/.453 batting line last season.
Let’s just hope Mallee’s able to do the same with Javier.