The Cubs have tabbed left-hander Brett Anderson to open the season as their fifth starter, tweets Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago. Consequently, fellow southpaw Mike Montgomery, whom Anderson beat out, will head to the bullpen. At $3.5MM, Anderson received one of the biggest contracts the Cubs handed out during an offseason devoid of free agent splashes for the reigning World Series champions. Given the 29-year-old Anderson’s well-known injury history, though, it stands to reason Montgomery could end up in the rotation this season. “I could see him starting,” manager Joe Maddon told Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com. “Long relief, short relief. All of it.”
- The Rangers “have had conversations with other clubs” about acquiring starting pitching, though they didn’t delve into the “top end” of the trade market, general manager Jon Daniels told MLB Network Radio (Twitter link). Daniels doesn’t expect to land another starter from outside the organization, as he noted that the Rangers are “going internally” to address their rotation. Texas won’t need a fifth starter until April 15, when Andrew Cashner could return from biceps tendinitis, and it appears they’ll slot A.J. Griffin in as the No. 4 option behind Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels and Martin Perez, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The recovering Tyson Ross (shoulder) figures to join the starting five when he makes his 2017 big league debut, which could happen in early May.
- Right-handed prospect Lucas Giolito has lost some of the hype that accompanied him last year, leading Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com to wonder if he’ll regain it with the White Sox organization. Previously a member of the Nationals, with whom he topped out as Baseball America’s fifth-best prospect, Giolito was part of a blockbuster December trade in which he (and fellow righties Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning) went to Chicago for outfielder Adam Eaton. Despite serving as the headlining part of the return for the Sox, and despite continuing to rank as a high-end prospect according to most outlets, skepticism has developed regarding the 22-year-old. “I think he will be a bullpen guy down the line, kind of like a Jon Rauch or Luke Hochevar,” a National League executive told Crasnick. “He got hyped up a lot and Washington found out later. Usually, the drafting team is the last to know.” Meanwhile, one member of an American League front office Crasnick spoke with isn’t as ready to write off Giolito. “As a 22-year-old who’s already missed a year with Tommy John, Lucas Giolito deserves a chance to grow and evolve,” he said. “He really hasn’t had enough innings to show us what he’s going to be.”
- Indians righty Carlos Carrasco could begin the year in extended spring training as he looks to build up his arm strength after a bout with elbow soreness, writes Terry Pluto of cleveland.com. The Indians have two off days in the first two weeks of the season, which would enable them to be patient with Carrasco and not have to use five starters immediately.