The Cubs are set to meet this week with the representatives of several top free agent starters, including David Price, Zack Greinke, and Jordan Zimmermann, according to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com. That’s not exactly a surprise, as Chicago has long been rumored as a major factor in the upper-level pitching market, but it seems to confirm that the club is eyeing a major acquisition. It’s also interesting to consider that all three pitchers offer different blends of expectations and risk, as well as different anticipated years and dollars. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes ranked all three within the top ten free agents on the market, predicting that Price (#1 overall) would end up with the Cubs.
Here are a few more notes on the Cubbies:
- What the meetings probably don’t signify is any inclination by the Cubs’ brass to attempt to add two high-end free agents. As ESPNChicago.com’s Jesse Rogers reports, both president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have recently downplayed that possibility. “If we want to do two things we have to get pretty creative,” Epstein said, referring to managing payroll. “Even if we do one really big thing we have to get creative. We have the ability to add a little bit from where we are right now. I don’t think we have room to do everything that’s been speculated in some areas.”
- The front office appears set to continue trying to build a consistent contender rather than gunning for 2016 success at all costs, as Hoyer suggested yesterday and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports (subscription required). “Baseball is a sport that does involve some randomness,” said Hoyer. “To me, the goal is to win a lot of games and get to the postseason. If you do that year in, year out, that’s how you end up being good.” He went on to explain: “But if you put yourself in to be there every year, that’s the goal. Would it be disappointing if we didn’t make the playoffs? Absolutely. … Would I say it’s ‘World Series or bust?’ That’s (not) a fair thing to put on a team.”
- While some analysts have floated the concept of the Cubs dealing catcher Miguel Montero, Epstein says that’s not been considered, as Rogers reports.“We haven’t talked about that at all,” Epstein said. “[Montero] was a big part of helping our run prevention last year. His framing, his pitch calling. We set a record for strikeouts, we were third in ERA. He was a big part of that. It’s not something we’re looking to disrupt at all.” The emergence of Kyle Schwarber last year made it fair to at least wonder whether Montero could be moved, particularly since his salary ($14MM a year over the next two seasons) might be allocated elsewhere. But it does seem premature for the club to rely on Schwarber regularly behind the plate.