Kris Bryant, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and Joe Maddon were named finalists for their respective Baseball Writers Association of America awards.
Bryant, who won NL Rookie of the Year in 2015, is a candidate for MVP this year along with the Nationals’ Daniel Murphy and the Dodgers’ Corey Seager. Hendricks and Lester, who finished 1-2 in ERA in the NL, are finalists for the Cy Young award, while Maddon was again a candidate for top manager honors. Maddon won the award last year.
The top manager will be announced on Nov. 15, the Cy Young winner on Nov. 16, and the MVP on Nov. 17.
The Cubs announced Sunday that the team has declined the $12 million option on Jason Hammel’s contract for 2017. The 34-year-old right-hander now becomes a free agent.
Hammel won a career-high 15 games, finishing 15-10 with a 3.83 ERA in 30 starts this season, striking out 144 over 166 2/3 innings.
In a statement, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein thanked Hammel for his contributions to the team.
“He was an effective, reliable starter the entire time he was a Cub, and this year he was an integral part of one of the best rotations in club history,” Epstein said. “We would not have been in a position to win the World Series without Jason’s terrific performance during the regular season. Jason and his family have been outstanding members of our organization and our community, and we are proud of their time with and impact on the Cubs.
“While Jason is healthy and primed to have another effective season in 2017, we have decided to consider other internal and external options for our starting rotation next year,” Epstein said. “Our hope is that by giving a starting opportunity to some younger pitchers under multiple years of club control, we can unearth a starter who will help us not only in 2017 but also in 2018 and beyond.”
Epstein said that when they agreed with Hammel on the two-year contract at the 2014 Winter Meetings, the option was included with the intent that it would be exercised if the pitcher was going to be with the Cubs in 2017.
“The intent was never to exercise the option and then trade Jason, so we will not consider that path,” Epstein said. “Instead, Jason will have the opportunity to enter free agency coming off an outstanding season and the ability to choose his next club. Meanwhile, the organization gains some flexibility and the opportunity to use a rotation spot to develop a younger, long-term starting pitcher.”
This move could benefit lefty Mike Montgomery, who made five starts with the Cubs after he was acquired from the Mariners for Dan Vogelbach. Montgomery compiled a 2.82 ERA in 17 appearances with the Cubs. As a starter this year, he was 1-1 with a 3.28 ERA in seven games, (including two with the Mariners.
The Cubs list of free agents also includes Dexter Fowler, Aroldis Chapman, Travis Wood, Joe Smith, Chris Coghlan, Trevor Cahill, and David Ross, who has said he’s retiring after this season.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon liked Kyle Schwarber in the No. 2 spot as the designated hitter in the lineup for Game 6 of the World Series and will go with the same combination in Game 7 on Wednesday night against the Indians at Progressive Field.
Bryant and Rizzo were a combined 7-for-10 in Game 6, driving in three runs, while Russell had two hits and six RBIs.
Kyle Hendricks will make his second World Series start for the Cubs. The right-hander held the Tribe scoreless over 4 1/3 innings for a no-decision in the Cubs’ 1-0 loss in Game 3. Hendricks was the winning pitcher in the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers, holding them scoreless over 7 1/3 innings.
Hendricks is the fourth pitcher to lead the Majors in ERA and start Game 7 of the World Series in the same year, joining Hal Newhouser (1945), Sandy Koufax (1965) and Bob Gibson (1968).
This is Hendricks’ first start away from Wrigley Field since the regular season finale. He hasn’t lost on the road since July 26, and is 5-0 with a 2.03 ERA in seven road starts since.
Kyle Schwarber may not be able to play in the field but he has been getting on base so manager Joe Maddon moved him up to the No. 2 spot in the Cubs lineup for Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night at Progressive Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. CT. Here’s the lineup:
Schwarber, who was unable to start in any of the three games at Wrigley Field, has three hits and two walks so far in the Series. He tore two ligaments in his left knee in the third game of the season and was not medically cleared to play in the field, so Schwarber has been limited to being the designated hitter. He batted fifth in Games 1 and 2 in Cleveland.
Jake Arrieta will make his fourth postseason road start, which is tied for the most by any pitcher in a single postseason. It’s the most by any Cubs pitcher, topping Kerry Wood’s three postseason road starts in 2003.
The Indians pitchers have been tough, combining for a 1.84 ERA in the five games so far. The Cubs were batting .210 in the World Series, and have been outhomered, 5-2.
Tuesday marks a franchise record for the Cubs’ latest game by date, regular season or postseason, but the team did play games in November before. According to historian Ed Hartig, on Nov. 1-15, 1888, just 128 years ago, the Cubs played exhibition games during a world baseball tour that included stops in Australia, Egypt, Italy, England and Ireland.
Jake Arrieta tonight makes his fourth postseason road start this season, which is tied for the most by any pitcher in a single postseason. It was last done by the Mets’ Jacob deGrom last year. It’s the most by a Cubs pitcher, surpassing Kerry Wood’s three postseason road starts in 2003.
Dexter Fowler leads all players with 10 runs scored this postseason, one shy of the Cubs single postseason record set by Kenny Lofton, who scored 11 in the 2003 playoffs.