Winter Meetings Day Three: Cubs Add an Outfielder and Have Offers Out to Free Agents

The Cubs reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year contract with outfielder Nate Schierholtz on day three of Baseball’s Winter Meetings. The Cubs did see several of their off-season targets come off the board but reportedly have offers out to free agents and are working on several options to improve the roster.

The Cubs one-year contract with Nate Schierholtz is reportedly worth $2.25 million and includes an incentive package worth another $500,000. The Cubs have not confirmed the signing and will not until after Schierholtz passes a physical … and Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. According to a report from the Sun-Times, the team might not be done seeking outfield depth.

According to reports, the Cubs have offers out to free agent third basemen as they try to find a match after losing out on Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez. And one option could be Jack Hannahan.

The Cubs reportedly met with Ryan Dempster’s agent and discussed parameters of a deal. Not long after the report from ESPN Chicago surfaced, multiple reports shot down the Cubs interest in a reunion with Ryan Dempster. The Sun-Times described the conversation as a “courtesy meeting” and that the report from ESPN Chicago “grossly misrepresented the nature of those talks.” According to the Tribune, Dempster is not likely to return to the Cubs and does not fit into the Cubs’ plans dollar-wise or length-wise.

The Winter Meetings conclude Thursday with the Rule 5 Draft … but the Cubs would still like to add depth in the rotation and bullpen, an outfielder and a third baseman.

Who’s on Third?
Jed Hoyer acknowledged that the Cubs were in on both Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez. Keppinger and Chavez had been linked to the Cubs this off-season but both third basemen agreed to terms Wednesday on new contracts. Keppinger agreed to a three-year, $12 million deal with the White Sox and Chavez signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Diamondbacks.

The Cubs also shot down reports that they had kicked the tires on Yuniesky Betancourt as a possible short-term solution at third base. The Cubs interest in signing Betancourt simply does not exist. According to Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs do not appear to have any interest in free agent third baseman Casey McGehee either … but McGehee would love to return to his original organization according to the Tribune.

The Cubs remain interested in re-signing Ian Stewart and Jed Hoyer told the Sun-Times, “We have a lot of irons in the fire when it comes to third base and we’re confident we’ll land someone that we feel good about.”

According to a report from the Sun-Times, Jack Hannahan appears to the best fit on left on the board. The 32-year old (March 4, 1980) lefty hitting third baseman was recently non-tendered by the Indians after hitting .244/.312/.341/.654 last season with 16 doubles and four home runs.

Reports vary on the Cubs possible interest in free agent Mark Reynolds.

Rule 5 Draft
The annual Rule 5 Draft begins at 9:00am CST on Thursday and the Cubs have the second pick in the draft. The Cubs are expected to make at least one selection but could end up trading the pick.

Jed Hoyer addressed the possibility of the Cubs arranging a draft-and-trade deal with another team. Hoyer said they planned on studying their options on Wednesday night.

If the Cubs take a player in the draft, one name to keep an eye on is Miguel Celestino, a 23-year old righty that pitched at the Class-A level in the Red Sox organization last year.

News, Notes and Rumors
According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs assured Carlos Marmol on Tuesday night that he will open the season as the closer … but prepared him for a possible move at the trade deadline. The Cubs are planning on moving Kyuji Fujikawa into the closer’s role around the trade deadline.

The Cubs were linked to free agent outfielder Jason Bay on Wednesday morning and by early afternoon Bay had a one-year deal in hand with the Mariners.

Jed Hoyer on Wednesday at the Winter Meetings

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