“The activity of our offseason isn’t indicative of how much we’ve been on the phone and have been working,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer told ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers as part of a Q&A session. It has been a quiet winter in Wrigleyville, as the Cubs have been limited to minor league signings and a couple of low-cost MLB contracts as the club is seemingly operating with a very limited amount of available payroll. The Cubs have yet to make any major acquisitions or trade away any big in-house contracts to free up more luxury tax space, though while Hoyer admitted “this is obviously likely to be one of our less active offseasons,” more transactions could be on the horizon. “We’ve been incredibly active making calls and exploring options,” the GM said, adding that he expects “the trade market will continue to be an active place well into February.”
Here are some more notes to kick off both Groundhog Day and Super Bowl Sunday….
- Before re-signing with the Red Sox, Mitch Moreland received offers from at least two other clubs, the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham writes. “The biggest thing for me was I’ve enjoyed my time in Boston. It feels like home for us and there’s a good group of guys. I’m comfortable there,” said Moreland, who has played the last three seasons with the Sox. “It’s a good family atmosphere, too, and that means a lot to me.” Moreland was eager enough to return to Fenway Park that he re-signed despite the fact that the Sox don’t yet have a manager in place in the wake of Alex Cora’s firing.
- Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann has been named as director of pitching development, the team announced. Buschmann will work in both roles for the 2020 season. A veteran of 11 pro seasons (including a brief stint of 4 1/3 innings with the Diamondbacks in 2016), Buschmann retired after the 2017 campaign to take on an assistant director post with the Giants before joining the Jays for the 2019 season.
- The Phillies’ lack of starting pitching upgrades have left David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer pessimistic about the club’s chances of competing in 2020. Though the Phils landed one of the winter’s biggest free agent arms in Zack Wheeler, Murphy feels much more rotation help was necessary given how Jake Arrieta, Vince Velasquez, and Zach Eflin posted middling numbers last year, and even Aaron Nola’s solid year was a step back from an outstanding 2018 season. The shortage of pitching especially stands out in the NL East, where the Nationals, Braves, and Mets are all deep in rotation options.