Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein met with reporters (including The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma) on Monday to discuss a number of hot stove-related subjects. The highlights…
- Epstein alluded to the team’s agreement with Brandon Morrow without officially making a confirmation, saying the Cubs were “pretty close” to the signing. The pitcher in question was described as someone the Cubs would be “comfortable” using as a closer, though “he’s the type of team player that would be willing to take any role depending on what the rest of the team looks like.”
- In that vein, the Cubs could acquire a more established closer, and a reunion with Wade Davis is still a possibility. Epstein said he planned to meet with Davis’ agent either during the Winter Meetings or just after. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times tweeted earlier today that the Cubs were open to bringing Davis back if an “affordable” deal could be worked out. MLBTR predicted Davis for a four-year, $60MM free agent contract this winter, which might fall outside of the Cubs’ comfort zone if they can land a less-pricey arm to further reinforce their bullpen.
- Sharma reports that free agents Bryan Shaw, Anthony Swarzak, and Jake McGee are also on the Cubs’ radar as they continue their wide-ranging search for bullpen help.
- Epstein downplayed any Kyle Schwarber trade rumors, saying that “he’s always been someone that teams have had an interest in, I guess. But we have probably the most interest.” Reports from earlier this week identified the Red Sox as a team interested in the young slugger.
- The Cubs will stay in touch with Scott Boras about Jake Arrieta in case there’s any path to the free agent righty returning to Wrigley Field. It has been widely assumed that Arrieta would be signing elsewhere this winter, as the Cubs have already signed Tyler Chatwood to join Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, and Jose Quintana in the rotation, and have been heavily linked to Alex Cobb. Still, given the number of other teams pursuing Cobb, it makes sense that Chicago would remain open to Arrieta, even if his price tag would be significantly higher.
- Of course, the Cubs almost made another big rotation splash as they were one of the seven finalists for Shohei Ohtani’s services. Epstein was proud of his team’s presentation to Ohtani and came away impressed by how the Japanese star handled himself in meetings with Cubs officials. Even getting into the final seven was an accomplishment in Epstein’s eyes, as the Cubs were neither a West Coast team or an AL team that could offer Ohtani DH at-bats.
- Chicago was also one of the four teams Giancarlo Stanton would’ve waived his no-trade clause to join, though it doesn’t seem talks got very far between the Cubs and Marlins before Stanton was dealt to the Yankees. “There wasn’t much interaction given the makeup of our roster, our future payroll commitments and some plans that we have,” Epstein said. “Great player and great opportunity, but not necessarily the right one for us at the time.”