Before heading into 2017, let’s look at the Top 5 MDR stories from 2016:
1. Cubs Win – This might be the biggest no brainer selection in the history of MDR. For the first time since 1908, the Cubs won the World Series. They also gave every indication that they could be starting at least a mini-dynasty as the team to beat for the next couple seasons.
2. Bryant Wins MVP – Kris Bryant is off to a start that few in the history of baseball have shared. First, he won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2015. Then in 2016, he won MVP. His first two seasons give him tough acts to follow.
3. Selig to Cooperstown – Bud Selig will always be known by Brewers fans as the man who brought baseball back to Milwaukee and headed the franchise for years. But, his tenure as commissioner of baseball changed the game in many ways and earned him election to the Hall of Fame.
4. White Sox start cleaning house – The White Sox looked to have built a club that could contend in 2016, but instead they bombed. They started what could be a house cleaning by trading ace Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton before he holidays. More are likely to go.
5. Twins sink – The Twins also had hopes of contending, but instead had their poorest season since 1995. It cost Terry Ryan his job as GM. Another bomb of a season could also send manager Paul Molitor packing.
Hot Stove Updates
** Catcher Martin Maldonado and pitcher Drew Gagnon were traded to the Angels for
catcher Jeff Bandy.
** The Brewers have signed former Twins’ LHP Tommy Milone to a one-year contract.
** The Brewers have signed infielders Eric Sogard and Ivan DeJesus Jr. and pitchers Andy Oliver and Hiram Burgos to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training.
** Aroldis Chapman, who signed as a free agent with the Yankees, said Cubs manager Joe Maddon misused him during the post-season, especially in the World Series.
** Jorge Soler was traded to the Royals for closer Wade Davis, who will replace Chapman. That means Kyle Schwarber will likely see regular time in the outfield.
** Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara and former Brewer pitcher Caleb Smith have been added to the bullpen.
** 2B Brian Dozier continues to draw the most attention from other clubs, with the Dodgers part of the most rumors.
** Jeff Smith has been named first base coach, and former Dodgers exec Jeff Pickler was named coordinator of Major League development.
** Corner infielder Matt Hague and 1B/OF Reynaldo Rodriguez were signed to minor league deals with invitations to spring training.
** The Sox reached a one-year deal with pitcher Derek Holland.
** The Yankees and White Sox continue to talk about a deal that would send LHP Jose Quintana to New York. RHP David Robertson also has been the subject of rumors with several teams.
** Righthander Jorge Rondon has been signed to a minor league deal. RHP Chris Volstad also was re-signed to a minor league contract.
Salary arbitration figures must be exchanged between players and clubs by Jan. 13. The Baseball Writers’ Hall of Fame voting will be announced on Jan. 18.
MDR teams will start holding their various winter festivals and ticker promotions later in January. The Cubs Convention is held Jan. 13-15. SoxFest and TwinsFest arescheduled for Jan. 27-29. The Brewers hold their On Deck on Jan. 29.
The Ken Keltner Chapter will celebrate SABR Day on Jan. 28 with a joint meeting with the Chicago Rothe Chapter at the Brat Stop in Kenosha County. Contact Rick Schabowski at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
The MDR Blog will run again in early February, previewing spring training. It will continue to run monthly through spring training and the regular season.