Chicago Cubs Rumors
We've already passed along several of Scott Boras' more newsworthy comments from Wednesday's scrum with reporters in Orlando, but one of the superagent's most notable barbs was reserved for the Cubs. Boras likened Chicago's rebuilding process to a lollipop that takes all day to dissolve, suggesting that a major-market team should be retooling more rapidly. Although team president Theo Epstein wasn't surprised by Boras' remarks, he declined to shoot back.
"We’re not going to get into a war of words with Scott other than to say the folks who work for the Cubs probably have a better understanding of our situation than he does," Epstein said, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Here's more from around the NL Central:
- Having talked to the agents for infielders like Mark Ellis and Ryan Roberts, the Cardinals are seeking a backup or a complement for Kolten Wong, but not necessarily competition, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Most people who have spoken to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about Rickie Weeks believe the Brewers' best shot at moving the second baseman would come if he shows up to camp healthy and plays well (Twitter link).
- Following his retirement as a player, Chris Carpenter hopes to remain with the Cardinals and has an eye on a front office role, as Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch details.
As Day Three of the Winter Meetings in Orlando comes to a close, plenty of free agents are still seeking new teams. Here are the latest updates on a few of them:
- Rockies people tell Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link) that nothing has changed with Nelson Cruz. There's interest in the free agent outfielder, but it's not being characterized as serious at this point.
- The Mariners have been ardent Cruz pursuers from the start of the winter, and one baseball source tells Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com they'll continue to be in the mix for him even after adding Robinson Cano, Corey Hart, and Logan Morrison.
- Teams believe reliever Joaquin Benoit's likeliest destinations are the Indians, Padres, Mariners, Cubs, or Yankees, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
- Agent Scott Boras says client Jose Valverde, who turns 36 in March, intends to continue his big league career and has drawn interest from two big league teams, writes James Schmehl of MLive.com. The Tigers released their former closer in August after his Triple-A reboot didn't go as well as he hoped.
- Earlier in the evening, assistant GM Bobby Evans expressed optimism that San Francisco would find a left fielder by trade or free agency by the day's end, with Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com naming Franklin Gutierrez as a candidate. However, the Giants no longer expect resolution on their left field situation tonight, says Baggarly (via Twitter). The CSN Bay Area scribe also takes a more in-depth look at some of the club's options.
- Catcher Kurt Suzuki is talking with the Rockies, Cubs, and Twins, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Our last few updates on Jeff Samardzija came back on Monday, but the Cubs pitcher's name is back in the rumor mill today, with an earlier report suggesting that the Diamondbacks may no longer be in the mix now that they've agreed to send Tyler Skaggs back to the Angels. Here are the latest updates on Samardzija:
- There was no resolution to Samardzija's long-term solution following his sitdown with the Cubs today, but team president Theo Epstein called it a "great meeting," according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago. "There is no trade imminent," Epstein said. "We'll see what happens. We hope he's here for a long time."
- Sources tell Rogers that if Samardzija were to sign an extension, he'd be seeking a deal that would pay him as if he's a free agent, as a trade-off for agreeing to stick with the Cubs through their rebuilding process. Based on Samardzija's reported asking price on a new contract and the team's reported asking price in trade talks, neither an extension nor a trade seems all that likely right now.
- The Cubs are meeting again today with Samardzija to discuss a possible extension, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. According to Sherman, the Cubs aren't hearing what they were hoping for in trade talks, which might make the team more likely to pursue a long-term deal. However, the right-hander isn't overly anxious to commit long-term since he's not sure when the Cubs will contend, says Sherman (Twitter links).
- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that due to the Cubs' high asking price for Samardzija, it seems likely the club will ultimately revisit trade discussions in the summer rather than completing a deal during the offseason.
Tonight's minor moves..
- Former Tigers left-hander Adam Wilk spent the past season in Korea but plans to return to MLB in 2014, agent Steve Canter tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
- Former Nationals and Rays right-hander J.D. Martin has signed with Korea's Samsung Lions, Canter tells Morosi (via Twitter). The Rays designated Martin for assignment in September. Martin was outstanding in 160 1/3 innings for Triple-A Durham this year, posting a 2.75 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 and winning International League Most Valuable Pitcher honors. The 30-year-old has not pitched in the Majors since 2010, when he started nine games for the Nationals.
- The Cubs signed former Royals reliever Tommy Hottovy to a minor league contract, a source tells Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish (via Twitter). The 32-year-old left-hander has 17 big league games to his credit. He spent last season with the Blue Jays Double-A and Triple-A affiliates, posting a combined 4.19 ERA with 8.8 K/'9 and 3.6 BB/9.
The Cubs are among the clubs with interest in free agent pitcher Mitchell Boggs, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. The Phillies, Indians, Mariners, and Mets are also in on him. The Rockies non-tendered the right-hander after a subpar 2013. Here's more from the NL Central...
- According to a club source, the Pirates' deal for Edinson Volquez won't preclude them from re-signing A.J. Burnett, tweets Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- A rival exec says that the one-year, $5MM pact for Volquez makes sense, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The exec says that Volquez boasts a Francisco Liriano-type profile with his strikeout rate and ability to induce groundballs.
- Tim Dierkes of MLBTR (on Twitter) wonders if the Volquez deal could hamstring Pittsburgh somewhat financially in their effort to re-sign Burnett if he calls for a $10-12MM commitment.
- The Cardinals signed right-hander Angel Castro for bullpen depth, tweets Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Castro was added to the Cardinals' 40-man roster, so it's a major-league deal. Castro spent last season with the Dodgers' Triple- A affiliate, posting an ERA of 3.48 with 7.0 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 19 starts and six relief appearances.
The latest out of the AL and NL Central..
- The Cubs are among the teams with interest in Roberto Hernandez, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin says that he'll look for a true first baseman to replace Corey Hart, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (on Twitter). "I'd like to find a first baseman who can play first. We've had so many guys who haven't played first," said the GM.
The Brewers topped out around $8MM for Hart, according to Haudricourt (on Twitter).
Cubs president Theo Epstein says the club has offers out to a free agent starter, a free agent offer, and a trade offer for a hitter, tweets Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Theo added that he has other trade talks taking place as well.
- Dombrowski also noted that the Tigers haven't ruled out signing Max Scherzer this offseason, tweets John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press.
- After initially being caught off guard by the trade, Adam Eaton says he's confident and ready for a fresh start with the White Sox, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.
Despite the fact that Reds GM Walt Jocketty told reporters the team won't be trading Homer Bailey, some within the organization feel they'll have to overpay to sign him to an extension at this point, which could eventually change Jocketty's stance, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal adds that the Reds would only move Bailey if they felt it improved their 2014 club (All Twitter links). More from the NL Central...
- The Brewers are one of a few teams to have shown interest in Carlos Marmol, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter).
- The Brewers could get jump back into the Ike Davis market, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Much like their interest in Logan Morrison, Milwaukee's interest is contingent upon Corey Hart's decision, says Martino.
- The Cubs will be in on Masahiro Tanaka, tweets Bruce Levine of WSCR. As he notes, the potential ace could greatly accelerate their timeline to compete.
The Marlins told teams on Monday that they were close to trading Logan Morrison, but no deal has come to fruition. Miami could be waiting on Corey Hart to make a decision, as the Brewers' level of interest is reportedly contingent on whether or not they can retain him. As many as seven teams were in on Morrison as of yesterday. Here are your LoMo rumors for Wednesday...
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel heard yesterday that the Brewers were out on Morrison, but now has been told that they will indeed try for him if Hart signs elsewhere (Twitter link).
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Pirates, Rays and Cubs are all in on Morrison (Twitter link). The Cubs would use Morrison in the outfield due to the presence of Anthony Rizzo at first base. The Marlins are still prioritizing a third baseman in return for Morrison, Sherman adds.
It's still early on Day Three of the Winter Meetings in Orlando, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post is coming out of the gate with a few items of note. Let's dive in and round them up...
- An increasingly crowded first base trade market may make it difficult for the Mets to acquire a solid return for Ike Davis, as Sherman outlines in a column.
- Sherman adds in the same piece that the Mets have placed a "significant return cost" on Daniel Murphy, but people around the league continue to believe he could be dealt.
- With Tyler Skaggs headed to the Angels, the Diamondbacks may no longer have the trade pieces to pry Jeff Samardzija away from the Cubs. However, Sherman says (via Twitter) that the D-Backs would now "really love" to acquire Justin Masterson from the Indians.
- The Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott reported on Tuesday that the Blue Jays had offered Colby Rasmus to a pair of teams in exchange for starting pitching, and it sounds as if Rasmus remains in play. Sherman tweets that the Jays will use Rasmus to try to land a starter.
By participating in the three-team Mark Trumbo trade with the Diamondbacks and Angels, the White Sox hindered their cross-town rivals' hopes of dealing Jeff Samardzija, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. The Diamondbacks have been interested in Samardzija since the summer, and one of the players they dealt in the Trumbo deal, pitcher Tyler Skaggs, would have been a key component of any package strong enough for the Cubs to send Samardzija to the desert. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- Wittenmyer also reports that the Cubs haven't yet made an offer to Scott Baker, who worked through an elbow injury and made three late-season starts for the Cubs in 2013. They have, however, talked with his agency. Baker is represented by Octagon.
- The Blue Jays are still prefer not to sign players for more than five years, although, as Sportsnet.ca's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently noted (via Twitter), there may be signs that could be softening somewhat. Still, their reluctance removes them from the market for top-tier free agents, who usually sign for longer, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm points out. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos prefers to trading for high-profile players rather than signing them. "There are some players out there in trade that signed long-term contracts, and then a year or two later, they're already getting moved," he says. "That's pretty telling. I still think five years is a long period of time."
- Chisholm also reports that Anthopoulos says that prospects Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman "come up in every trade talk we probably have," due to their relatively close proximity to the Majors. "If you're trying to get a controllable starter, everyone would prefer to get the talent level that's closest," Anthopoulos says.
- Even though the the Royals didn't sign Carlos Beltran, they haven't ruled out the possibility of trading DH Billy Butler, ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets. If they do, they could end up signing Nelson Cruz.
- The Rangers, Mariners and Orioles still appear to have interest in Cruz, Stark tweets, noting that it could still be awhile before Cruz signs.
- The Orioles have also checked in on free agent starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, tweets FOX Sports' Jon Morosi.
- The Yankees, Mets and Padres have asked about Dustin Ackley of the Mariners, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets. Ackley, 25, hit .253/.319/.341 in 427 plate appearances in 2013, with his time split between second base and outfield.
- Ten teams are interested in infielder Justin Turner, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes writes (via Twitter). Turner hit .280/.319/.385 in 214 plate appearances and played all four infield position for the Mets in 2013.
- Astros outfielder L.J. Hoes is now represented by MVP Sports Group, Dierkes tweets.