When Theo Epstein took over the Cubs a year ago, he took the long range view and opted for an all-out gutting and rebuilding. This winter, however, he surprised some when he entered the bidding for Anibal Sanchez and signed Edwin Jackson to a lucrative four-year deal. Does that mean that the Cubs are better than he anticipated? “We’re certainly farther along than we were last year at this time,” said Epstein, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “When we got here, we identified one core player [Starlin Castro] and now we can look around and see Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzija , and others. We do have more positional prospects than pitchers, so we felt Jackson will be with us for many years to come.” Here's more from Cafardo..
- If Matt Garza can show teams that his elbow is in solid shape during spring training then the Cubs will consider offers for the right-hander. It's hard to read the Cubs' intentions though since they are building for the future while also signing veteran pitchers.
- Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is a hard sell to some teams because he is in his walk year and has struggled with injury, but there are other clubs out there looking to make a splash who may feel that one year of a motivated Ellsbury would be tempting.
- The Twins' Justin Morneau is in the final year of his contract at $14MM and Cafardo wonders if they would deal him if they got a nice group of young players. Teams like the Red Sox, Orioles, and Rays (even with James Loney) could be interested in first base help.
- Dodgers pitchers Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang are both available thanks to the club's offseason pickups and the expected return of Ted Lilly. Capuano should draw more interest since he is a lefty and coming off a decent season.
- The White Sox say they want to hang on to Gavin Floyd, but younger pitchers have made him expendable. It has been speculated that the White Sox won't look to move Floyd until John Danks is healthy.
- Andrew Bailey is slated to be the Red Sox set-up man in support of Joel Hanrahan, but Cafardo wonders aloud if they might be willing to deal him to address another need? Bailey didn't help his trade value after he returned from thumb surgery last year, but at least teams know he’s healthy.
- Cafardo gets the feeling that Justin Upton will be gone just as soon as D'Backs GM Kevin Towers hears the right mix of players. Of course, there has also been a great deal of talk surrounding Jason Kubel.