Outfielder Jon Jay is a free agent this winter, but he tells Madeline Kenney of the Chicago Sun-Times that his hope is to remain with the Cubs. “I love it here,” said Jay, who inked a one-year deal worth $8MM last offseason. “I cannot deny that. I absolutely love it here.”As Kenney notes, manager Joe Maddon effused praise for Jay for much of the season, highlighting his leadership and the consistent quality of his at-bats, even with two strikes. Jay was a frequent presence atop the Cubs’ lineup in the season’s final two months and ultimately finished out the year with a .296/.374/.375 batting line through 433 trips to the plate. Jay, Kenney notes, is well-liked and well-respected among his teammates. “Life isn’t about all the money and all these different things,” said Jay. “It’s about respecting people and treating people the right way. And that’s what I try to do.” The Cubs, however, do have a fairly crowded mix of outfielders with Albert Almora, Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ and Ben Zobrist all vying for playing time in 2018.
More from the division…
- Jose Peraza is already playing winter ball in Venezuela as he prepares for the possibility of an everyday role as the Reds’ shortstop in 2018, writes MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. While there’s still a chance that Zack Cozart could be back in Cincinnati next season, Peraza is the favorite to take over the position if Cozart receives more lucrative offers elsewhere. Peraza is currently the top internal option at short, Sheldon notes, and the fleet-footed 23-year-old tells Sheldon that he plans to get as many reps at shortstop as he can this winter in order to work on his defense there. Peraza has bounced between short, second base and the outfield with the Reds and didn’t rate favorably there in the estimation of Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating, though focusing on one position could of course help to improve those results.
- Though Tyler Glasnow’s rookie season produced disastrous numbers at the MLB level, the Pirates were heartened by improvements he made in Triple-A following a June demotion, writes MLB.com’s Adam Berry. Glasnow overhauled his mechanics last winter in an effort to improve his command, but he ultimately felt the changes adversely impacted his velocity and the overall quality of his secondary offerings. Glasnow went back to his old mechanics in Triple-A and utterly dominated minor league hitters (1.93 ERA, 13.5 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 in 93 1/3 innings). While he didn’t generate positive results in his September return to the bigs, Berry points out that his velocity and spin rate were both much improved. Glasnow should be in the mix for a rotation spot in Pittsburgh again next season, though the Bucs have a number of young MLB-ready options, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd pointed out in yesterday’s Offseason Outlook for the Pirates.