Chicago Cubs – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-10-20T03:21:32Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress TC Zencka <![CDATA[Latest On Phillies GM Search]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=253081 2020-10-07T15:44:17Z 2020-10-07T15:41:46Z The Yankees have a couple of  “assistant GM-types” that the Phillies might look into if they decide not to stick with interim GM Ned Rice for the 2021 season, Jon Heyman posits on his new podcast with Tony Gwynn Jr. There still remains a decent chance that the Phillies give Rice the year in the GM seat, however.

If they do decide to look outside the organization, Heyman submits someone like Jim Hendry – not an AGM, but a special assistant to GM Brian Cashman – to receive consideration from the Phillies to fill their GM vacancy. It’s been a bit since Hendry’s name surfaced for a GM opening, but the former Cubs’ executive does have ties to Team President Andy MacPhail, as well as manager Joe Girardi. MacPhail promoted Hendry to the GM role in Chicago way back in 2002. He served as the Cubs’ GM until after the 2011 season. He was hired on as a special assistant to Brian Cashman in 2012.

Hendry’s relationship with Girardi could prove an important element, and that holds for any new candidate coming into Philadelphia. Girardi is respected in the organization and heading into just the second year of his deal. For the Phillies to hit the ground running with a new lead man in the baseball ops department, they would prefer to do so without having to reset in the dugout yet again.

Yankees Vice President of Baseball Operations Tim Naehring and Vice President of Domestic Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer are two other names that Heyman suggests the Phillies might take a look at from the Yankees front office.

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TC Zencka <![CDATA[Theo Epstein On The Value Of One-Year Deals]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=252805 2020-10-06T19:07:11Z 2020-10-06T18:34:16Z Theo Epstein has been prepping the Chicago fanbase for the eventual breakup of their 2016 team for a couple of seasons now. The blockbuster hasn’t come, and most of the faces of that championship team remain. After a disappointing exit from the wild card round – they managed just one run over a two-game sweep at the hands of the Marlins – Epstein’s comments again suggest changes are coming for the Cubbies.

Nine players remain on the roster from their World Series winner, and while that may not seem like a lot, it does constitute roughly 35% of a 26-man roster. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, Albert Almora, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jason Heyward, and Kyle Schwarber represent the longest-tenured group of Chicago players. Technically, manager David Ross can count as a 10th member of their title team still hanging around the clubhouse. Ian Happ and Victor Caratini didn’t debut until 2017. Jose Quintana joined the team at the 2017 deadline. Yu Darvish signed as a free agent prior to the 2018 season.

The pillars of this Cubs’ run will dwindle further in the coming years. Architect Theo Epstein is likely to depart after next season. Lester is a free agent this winter. Almora seems to be out of chances and in need of a change of scenery. Odds favor Heyward or Hendricks to be the “last man standing” as they both have contracts that should keep them in Wrigley through 2023. Rizzo, Bryant, Baez, and Schwarber are each entering the final year of their contracts – assuming the Cubs pick up Rizzo’s $16.5MM option.

Epstein spoke about the latter group, providing typically candid analysis of not only the Cubs foursome, but more broadly about the value of one-year contracts. Per the Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma, Epstein said:

I think there are going to be certain fundamentals that are true of this winter and of this market that have been true for decades. One of those is especially relevant in our situation, a one-year deal for a really talented player is a valuable thing. That’s to our benefit both to what we can do in constructing the 2021 team and having an additional year of control on certain players and also potentially to our benefit in the trade market as we look to make some changes. I think that’s a fundamental.”

Essentially, it sounds as if Epstein’s offering a ’fear not’ for those who think the Cubs have waited too long to return anything of value for the final year of Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, and/or Schwarber. To Epstein’s point, players on one-year deals are often devalued in the public square, but there’s a lot that can be extracted from a full year. Further, the flexibility a one-year deal affords shouldn’t be discounted – perhaps especially in our current climate. The fear of losing talent to free agency is understandable, but the more difficult gaff to overcome is the presence of “the albatross,” a highly-paid player on a long-term deal who no longer contributes on the diamond. Baez’s confounding 2020 is a testament to the swings that even talented players can experience year-over-year.

The trouble for Epstein is that Chicago’s current roster is flush with semi-expensive players on short-term deals who are coming off disappointing seasons. But to Epstein’s point – those players are still valuable. Whether the Cubs keep them or trade them, there’s always an opportunity cost. Said Epstein, per Sahadev:

There’s always a trade-off of being transactional and taking some of those players away from the current group and solidifying the future. There are trade-offs and balances that you have to be mindful of. The math simply changes as you get to a point where a lot of your best players only have one year left. It becomes less appealing to continue to invest opportunity cost in simply the present.”

Epstein has hit on a similar refrain in each of the last couple of years, and some changes have been made. They hired David Ross as the manager, they refrained from big-money free agent deals since signing Darvish (with the exception of Craig Kimbrel, who has only one more guaranteed season left on his deal), and they poured considerable energy into exploring trade options and/or extensions for their stars – but they haven’t made any of those deals.

Therein lies the rub for Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer. After years of exploring their options and walking the difficult path to try and sustain contention, they’re running out of time to pull off one of those – in Epstein’s words – “impactful, significant moves.” Whether or not they’re able to consummate that brand of deal this winter may depend on whether the 29 other GMs agree with Epstein about the value of talented players one-year deals.

Of course, Mookie Betts represents the most recent superstar player to be dealt on a one-year deal, and Indians’ shortstop Francisco Lindor is among those players who could be available this winter. Both players are probably more valuable in a vacuum than any of the Cubs’ foursome. Still, the Betts deal is instructive in so far as it necessitated the Red Sox’ willingness to take a step back, even though they received a major league regular as part of their return. The Cubs also have the option of packaging a couple players in the same deal, something he’s done in the past to extract additional prospect value..

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Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Theo Epstein Discusses Cubs’ Future]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=252500 2020-10-05T19:25:43Z 2020-10-05T19:25:43Z The Cubs’ season came to an abrupt end last week, when the Marlins swept the NL Central winners in the teams’ first-round series. Despite generally strong regular-season play, the North Siders have now failed to advance to a National League Division Series in each of the past three seasons. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein discussed the organization’s outlook in an end-of-season chat with reporters this morning.

Having not quite lived up to lofty expectations in recent years, Epstein acknowledged some change this offseason “is warranted and necessary” (via Russell Dorsey of the Chicago Tribune). There’s seeming room for improvement on both sides of the ball. On the whole, Cubs’ hitters slashed just .220/.318/.387, resulting in a 91 wRC+ that ranked 21st out of the league’s 30 teams. Among everyday players, only Ian Happ and Jason Heyward performed up to or exceeded expectations. Anthony Rizzo was decent but didn’t play at his established levels, while Kris Bryant and Javier Báez scuffled through miserable seasons.

On the pitching side, Yu Darvish again cemented himself as a bona fide ace, with Kyle Hendricks continuing to shine as the #2 option. The rest of the rotation is uncertain, with José QuintanaJon Lester and Tyler Chatwood all ticketed for free agency. 25-year-old Adbert Alzolay has the inside track on a rotation spot, Epstein confirmed (via Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune), but he admitted the front office will have to look outside the organization for additional pitching help. Whether the Cubs could make any high-priced additions isn’t clear, as Epstein said the franchise is facing a high amount of financial uncertainty in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic (Gonzales link), as is more or less true of all 30 clubs.

Being open to some changes on the roster is hardly the same as desiring massive turnover; GM Jed Hoyer made similar comments last November, but the organization had a generally quiet 2019-20 offseason. The existing core is clearly capable of making another run in the NL Central, assuming the pitching staff is bolstered in some fashion. It remains to be seen if the conditions for a more drastic shakeup present themselves.

The 46-year-old Epstein also addressed his personal future. His contract expires after the 2021 season, and he’s reportedly planning to meet one-on-one with chairman Tom Ricketts in the coming days. Epstein confirmed he’ll sit down with ownership but downplayed the meeting’s significance, calling it a customary end-of-year process. “My expectation is that I’ll be here (next season),” he told reporters (including Jordan Bastian of MLB.com).

That said, Epstein hinted at the possibility that 2021 could be his final year in Chicago. When asked about the prospect of an extension, he noted that changes after a long time spent in one place could be beneficial for both employees and the organization (via Gonzales). As Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com points out (Twitter link), that’s in line with an increasing expectation Epstein might depart at the end of his deal.

If that were to happen, Hoyer would seem an obvious candidate to take over baseball operations. Long-term front office uncertainty aside, Epstein says he’s currently “as invested in the Chicago Cubs as I was at any point in the last nine years,” (Rogers link).

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Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 10/3/20]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=251848 2020-10-04T02:58:26Z 2020-10-04T02:58:26Z A trio of players appear ticketed for free agency this offseason after being outrighted off clubs’ rosters yesterday, per the MLB.com transactions log:

  • Cubs’ reliever Josh Osich cleared waivers after being designated for assignment earlier this week. Chicago acquired Osich from the Red Sox at this year’s trade deadline, although he only wound up pitching in four games for them down the stretch. Osich combined for a 6.38 ERA in 18.1 innings for the two teams this year, although he did rack up an impressive 24:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
  • White Sox reliever Alex McRae also passed through the wire after being designated this week. McRae spent the first six seasons of his professional career in the Pirates’ organization before joining the Sox last offseason. He tossed three scoreless innings for the South Siders this year. McRae has a 7.50 ERA/7.09 FIP in 36 career MLB innings.
  • Also passing through waivers was Rangers’ infielder Yadiel Rivera. The 28-year-old utilityman was reported to have been designated for assignment in early September, but he instead reverted to the injured list after being diagnosed with an elbow injury. Rivera wound up having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his elbow, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reported late last month, and is expected to be out for five to six months. Rivera has just a .175/.244/.217 line in 319 MLB plate appearances across six seasons.
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Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Theo Epstein To Meet With Tom Ricketts Next Week]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=251881 2020-10-04T00:48:53Z 2020-10-04T00:48:53Z
  • On the heels of an early playoff exit, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein plans to meet with chairman Tom Ricketts next week to discuss the club’s long-term future, per David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago. Epstein’s contract expires after the 2021 season, and Kaplan points out the possibility he could turn over baseball operations to general manager Jed Hoyer and look for opportunities elsewhere once his deal wraps up. Per Patrick Mooney of the Athletic, though, Epstein isn’t expected to depart the organization this winter.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Javy Baez Wants To Stay With Cubs]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=251682 2020-10-03T17:51:33Z 2020-10-03T17:51:33Z
  • Now that the Cubs’ season is over, Javier Baez reiterated his desire to remain in Wrigleyville, telling NBC Sports Chicago’s Tim Stebbins and other reporters that “hopefully I stay here my whole career.”  That said, Baez also noted that “anything can happen….We’ll see what happens and hopefully I’ll stay here.”  Baez, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, and Anthony Rizzo (whose 2021 option is likely to be exercised) are all scheduled to hit free agency after the 2021 season, leading to speculation about which members of the quartet could be extended or traded.  The majority of the Baez-related speculation has been focused on the possibility of an extension, though negotiations last offseason didn’t produce a new deal.  Of course, it’s worth noting that the Cubs’ interest in a long-term commitment may have changed in the wake of a very rough offensive season for Baez, who hit only .203/.238/.360 over 235 plate appearances.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cubs Set Wild Card Series Roster]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=250617 2020-09-30T16:31:44Z 2020-09-30T16:31:44Z The Cubs designated Josh Osich for assignment and selected Josh Phegley back to their 40-man roster this morning as they set their 28-man roster for their Wild Card Series showdown against the upstart Marlins. Here’s how the roster breaks down:

    Right-Handed Pitchers

    Left-Handed Pitchers

    Catchers

    Infielders

    Outfielders

    A resurgent Yu Darvish has spearheaded the Cubs’ rotation in 2020, but he’ll give way to Kyle Hendricks as the Game 1 starter. As has been the case in recent years, the Cubs’ offense has faded late in the season, and the productivity of the lineup will be a focal point this series. Kris Bryant, in particular, has been hobbled by an oblique issue but avoided the IL and is lineup, hitting third against Miami’s Sandy Alcantara.

    Much has been made of the team’s bullpen struggles in recent years as well, with Craig Kimbrel’s decline standing out first and foremost, but the once-hittable closer has begun to resemble his peak form over the past six weeks. Dating back to mid-August, Kimbrel has rattled off 12 2/3 innings with a 1.42 ERA and an eye-popping 26-to-7 K/BB ratio. He’s faced 49 hitters in that time and allowed just four hits while punching out more than half of them.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cubs Select Josh Phegley, Designate Josh Osich]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=250603 2020-09-30T15:17:26Z 2020-09-30T15:17:26Z The Cubs have selected the contract of catcher Josh Phegley from their alternate training site and designated left-handed reliever Josh Osich for assignment in order to open roster space, per a club announcement. Phegley will make the team’s Wild Card roster.

    Phegley, 32, logged 18 plate appearances with the Cubs earlier this season but struggled in that short sample, collecting just one hit and one walk while getting plunked by a pitch in that time as well. He’ll be a third catcher behind Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini this series and give the Cubs a bench option who hit .233/.282/.397 in 300 games with the A’s from 2015-19.

    Osich, also 32, allowed six runs (three earned) on five hits with four strikeouts in just 2 2/3 innings over four games with the Cubs. Osich notched a 4.66 ERA in 67 2/3 innings with the Cubs last year while posting a 61-to-15 K/BB ratio in that time. However, he carries just a 5.02 ERA and 5.21 FIP in 206 1/3 big league innings to this point in his career. Osich can become a free agent if he goes unclaimed on waivers.

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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[MLB Finalizes 16-Team Playoff Bracket]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=249303 2020-09-28T02:00:04Z 2020-09-27T23:53:32Z With a hectic final day of play in the books, the 2020 playoff field is officially set – which visual learners can view here from MLB Network. The defending World Series champion Nationals and their newly-crowned batting champion Juan Soto will watch from home.  The Mets and Phillies turned in disappointing seasons, while the Marlins stunned their NL East counterparts to enter the postseason as the #6 seed in the National League. The Braves weathered a line change in their starting rotation to win their third consecutive NL East title.

    Elsewhere in the National League, Dodgers are the team to beat, while the Padres are the team to watch. The Rockies and Diamondbacks will face some hard questions in the offseason after disappointing years, while the Giants exceeded expectations but narrowly missed the postseason.

    The Central makes up half the playoff field in the National League with everyone but the Pirates continuing into MLB’s second season. The Cubs took home their third division title in five seasons behind stellar years from Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks, but it was a difficult season for many of their core offensive players. They were also the only team in the majors to go the entire season without a single player testing positive for COVID-19, per NBC Sports Chicago and others. The Cardinals will be the #5 seed after playing two fewer games than the rest of the league, Trevor Bauer led the Reds back to the postseason by winning the NL ERA title (in a free agent year no less), and the Brewers backed into the NL’s #8 seed without ever being above .500 in 2020.

    In the American League, small markets had themselves a year. The A’s took the AL West back from the defending AL champion Astros. Speaking of, Houston finished a tumultuous year without their ace Justin Verlander. Manager Dusty Baker will lead his fifth different team to the postseason, this one joining the Brewers as one of two under-.500 teams to reach the postseason. The Angels will reboot after firing their GM earlier today, while the Rangers and Mariners continue their rebuilds.

    The Rays, meanwhile, won the AL East for the first time in a decade and they’re the top seed in the American League. The Yankees settle for second place and the Blue Jays arrive to the postseason a little earlier than expected as the AL’s #8 seed. The Red Sox took an expected step back, while the Orioles performed better than expected, staying in the playoff hunt for most of the season.

    The Twins lost in extras today, but they nonetheless secured their second consecutive AL Central title. Shane Bieber put up a potentially MVP season to get the Indians back to the playoffs. The White Sox arrived in a major way led by Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu. Only a late season slide kept them from a division crown. They’ll head to Oakland as the #7 seed. The Tigers debuted a number of players they hope will be a part of their next competitive team, while the Royals said goodbye to a franchise icon in Alex Gordon’s final season.

    It was a short and bizarre season, but the playoffs – while expanded – aren’t going to be all that different from most years. There will be neutral sites and a wild card round of 3-game series, and playoff bubbles, but once the field is pared down to eight, it’s more or less business as usual for the postseason. It should be an exciting month of October.

    Here’s the final field of 16:

    National League

    (8) Brewers at (1) Dodgers

    (5) Cardinals at (4) Padres

    (6) Marlins at (3) Cubs

    (7) Reds at (2) Braves

    American League

    (8) Blue Jays at (1) Rays

    (5) Yankees at (4) Indians

    (6) Astros at (3) Twins

    (7) White Sox at (2) A’s

    The playoffs begin on Tuesday, September 29.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cubs Promote Brailyn Marquez, Designate Patrick Wisdom]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=249168 2020-09-27T18:21:12Z 2020-09-27T16:58:38Z The Cubs have selected the contract of left-handed pitching prospect Brailyn Marquez, the team announced.  Infielder/outfielder Patrick Wisdom has been designated for assignment to create roster room.

    Marquez is expected to make his Major League debut in today’s game, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told reporters (including MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian).  The plan is for Marquez to toss an inning of work that could serve as an audition for the postseason roster.

    With a fastball that hits the 100mph threshold, Marquez represents a very intriguing x-factor for the Cubs’ playoff run if he can adjust quickly to big league hitters.  The 21-year-old has never even pitched in Double-A ball, posting a 3.19 ERA, 2.84 K/BB rate, and 10.1 K/9 over 257 innings in Chicago’s farm system.

    An international signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, Marquez emerged on top-100 prospect lists prior to the 2020 season.  Baseball America ranked him 37th on their list, with MLB.com (68th), Keith Law (80th), and Baseball Prospectus (84th) all being a bit more reserved in their praise.  BA’s scouting report cited Marquez’s potential front-of-the-rotation arsenal, including his big fastball, a “spike slider,” and also a changeup that was lacking in polish as a legitimate third pitch.

    If everything is working, Marquez could be an ace of the future, though the issue is that his delivery doesn’t lend itself to repetition.  Law thinks Marquez will eventually end up as “a very high-end closer” who can pitch multiple innings, and the Cubs certainly wouldn’t mind a preview of that potential future in this year’s playoffs, though obviously the long-term goal is that Marquez will develop into a quality starter.

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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[MLB Announces Suspensions For Jimmy Cordero, Rick Renteria]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=249023 2020-09-26T23:38:35Z 2020-09-26T23:38:43Z 6:38PM: Cordero is appealing his suspension, as per several reporters (including Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times).

    4:39PM: Major League Baseball has handed down a pair of suspensions arising out of last night’s game between Chicago’s crosstown rivals. White Sox reliever Jimmy Cordero has been suspended three games, while Sox manager Rick Renteria was tagged with a one-game ban.

    MLB determined that Cordero intentionally hit Cubs’ catcher Willson Contreras with a pitch in the seventh inning last night. Earlier in the game, Contreras flipped his bat after hitting a home run off Dylan Cease. Cordero, Renteria and pitching coach Don Cooper were all ejected in the aftermath of the HBP. Cooper received an undisclosed fine for his actions, MLB added. Renteria will serve his suspension in tonight’s game against the Cubs.

    Cordero’s suspension isn’t expected to affect his availability for the postseason, hears James Fegan of the Athletic (Twitter link). Of course, it’s not clear the 28-year-old Cordero should be a big part of the White Sox’s postseason roster regardless. He’s got a 5.61 ERA with a mediocre 17.8% strikeout rate this season.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cubs Select Patrick Wisdom]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=248785 2020-09-25T21:51:48Z 2020-09-25T21:51:48Z The Cubs have selected infielder Patrick Wisdom, optioned first baseman/outfielder Jose Martinez and placed right-hander Manuel Rodriguez on the 45-day injured list, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic was among those to report.

    Wisdom could now see his first action with the Cubs, who signed him to a minor league contract Aug. 23. He began his career as a member of the rival Cardinals, who chose him in the first round of the 2012 draft, but only amassed 58 plate appearances with the Redbirds (all in 2018) before they traded him to the Rangers. Wisdom totaled another 28 PA with Texas last season, but he collected far more strikeouts (15) than hits (four), and the Rangers outrighted him last winter.

    All told, the 29-year-old Wisdom has batted .224/.306/.408 with four home runs in 86 trips to the plate as a major leaguer. As someone who has primarily lined up at third base in the bigs, he’ll give the Cubs a bit of extra depth as they await the return of Kris Bryant, who hasn’t played since Monday because of an oblique injury.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Kris Bryant Suffers Oblique Injury]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=247227 2020-09-22T20:52:11Z 2020-09-22T20:50:19Z SEPT. 22: The Cubs are optimistic Bryant won’t require an IL stint, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune tweets.

    SEPT. 21, 9:34pm: Bryant is day-to-day for now, though manager David Ross said he’s “worried” about the injury, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com tweets.

    8:07pm: Cubs third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant left their game against the Pirates on Monday with right oblique tightness, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic was among those to report. The Cubs replaced Bryant with David Bote.

    Any oblique issue to a regular is a red flag for a team, especially for a 31-22 Cubs club leading the NL Central by 3 1/2 games and nearing a playoff berth. It remains to be seen whether Bryant will play again this year, but it’s especially troubling that the three-time All-Star and former MVP hasn’t come anywhere close to his usual form this season. Bryant is hitting a woeful .195/.283/.301 with two home runs and a career-worst .106 ISO in 138 plate appearances.

    Despite his uncharacteristic struggles this year, the Cubs obviously still want Bryant in their lineup on a daily basis. They’re on their way to the playoffs, after all, but however the postseason goes, the Cubs will have to decide in the offseason whether to keep Bryant, who was the subject of trade rumors last winter. He’s making a prorated $18.6MM in 2020 and won’t be eligible for free agency until after the ’21 campaign

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jose Quintana To Return Tuesday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=247241 2020-09-22T02:29:28Z 2020-09-22T02:29:28Z
  • The Cubs will activate left-hander Jose Quintana to start against the Pirates on Tuesday, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com tweets. The team has been without Quintana since he went on the IL on Sept. 2 with left lat inflammation. It’s the second IL stint of the year for Quintana, who began the season on the shelf with a left thumb issue. He debuted Aug. 25 and has since made two appearances, during which he combined for six innings of four-run ball.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Cubs Recall José Martínez, Option Josh Osich]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=246984 2020-09-20T22:55:59Z 2020-09-20T22:30:58Z The Chicago Cubs made a set a roster moves today, recalling José Martínez from their alternate site and sending southpaw Josh Osich down to South Bend in his place, per Jesse Rogers of ESPN (via Twitter). Martinez will be in uniform for tonight’s game against the Twins.

    The Cubs made moves to get both players at the deadline, but they came amidst a flurry of activity from a Chicago front office intent on adding depth. Cubs fans were definitely aware of Martinez after his many seasons in St. Louis, but any memories of his abilities as a towering right-handed slugger dissipated quickly as he went hitless in his first six games as a Cub. Martinez saw 3 starts at designated hitter while appearing in the other 3 as a pinch-hitter, roles he’s likely to assume once again as long as the Cubbies keep him on the active roster.

    Known as a lefty masher due to a career 149 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, the Cubs long-term evaluation of Martinez likely hasn’t changed after just 15 plate appearances. He’ll get some opportunities against southpaws in the designated hitter spot as the number of games before the postseason winnow away. Manager David Ross will likely try to decide whether he can trust Martinez’s bat enough to give him a roster spot in the postseason.

    Osich had a rough go of it after joining the Cubs from the Boston Red Sox. Over four outings, the 32-year-old coughed up 6 runs (3 earned) covering just 2 2/3 innings. With Andrew Chafin – another deadline acquisition – finally getting healthy, Osich may have lost his opportunity to make an impact on this Cubs squad. The Cubs are rostering Kyle Ryan and Rex Brothers along with Chafin as lefty options out of the pen, and when Jose Quintana returns from injury, he’ll be another southpaw that Ross can call on in relief.

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