Newly-acquired Cubs righty Aaron Brooks is looking forward to playing for his new team, though as he told reporters (including MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat), he’s already run into some online confusion. The Aaron Brooks who has played guard for the Bulls for the last two NBA seasons has dibs as the most famous Chicago athlete with that name. “I’ve talked to [the basketball player] on Twitter before because everybody thinks I’m him,” the Cubs’ Brooks said. “People keep tagging me….All they have to do is look at the profile picture and they’ll know it’s not me.” Here’s more from the NL Central:
- The Padres, Rays and Indians all offered various pitching and outfield prospects to the Cubs in Jorge Soler trade packages, but Chicago decided to stick with the highly-touted outfielder, CBS Chicago’s Bruce Levine reports. While Tampa and Cleveland were linked to Soler multiple times this winter, this is the first time the Padres have been mentioned in connection with Soler. San Diego’s outfield currently features Matt Kemp, Melvin Upton and Jon Jay slated for most of the playing time with Travis Jankowski, Jabari Blash and Alex Dickerson in the mix for bench and platoon jobs. Had Soler been acquired (depending on when the Padres/Cubs talks took place), it’s fair to assume that the Padres wouldn’t have acquired Jay from St. Louis and Soler would’ve been playing every day in either left or right field. This is just my speculation, but since the Cubs were known to be targeting young pitching for Soler, I would guess Chicago floated the names of Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner in return.
- From that same Levine item, Soler said he isn’t concerned about how the Cubs’ acquisitions of Dexter Fowler and Shane Victorino will impact his playing time. “I will get my opportunity and chance. I will do my job and try to help the team,” Soler said through a translator.
- In a recent talk with MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon and other media about the Reds’ trades of pricey veterans over the last year, Cincinnati GM Dick Williams stressed that “we’re not saving to create a profit, we’re saving to invest in the future, for sure. We’ve got the biggest amateur signing pool this year, when you combine domestic and international….I talked about investing in the analytics and sports science. We’ll be investing in personnel, scouting personnel, new player development initiatives. I’ll be talking a lot about that over the course of this year as we roll things out, but we’ll put that money [to] work for sure.”
- Mike Morse took some grounders at third base, though it’s safe to say he’s not expecting to do the same for the Pirates during the season. “We’re not trying to get me to play over there — unless the game goes 28 innings and no one’s left,” Morse told reporters (including Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review), noting that he routinely spends a bit of time around the infield every year in camp. Morse has played nine games at third at the MLB level, though none since 2009.
- If you’re wondering why it’s been over two months without a new Andy Wilkins transaction here on MLB Trade Rumors, it’s because he has seemingly settled down (finally) with the Brewers. Wilkins discussed his wild 2015 with reporters (including MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy) and how he coped with six different transactions that made him a member of seven different organizations — the White Sox, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Orioles, Mariners, Rangers and Brewers — within roughly nine months’ time. Speaking of nine-month spans, these moves came while Wilkins and his wife were expecting their first child, who was born in December just two days before Milwaukee claimed the first baseman on waivers.