It was relatively quiet throughout the game during the holiday weekend. Outside of Nick Swisher agreeing to terms on a four-year, $56 million deal (includes a $14 million vesting option for 2017) with the Indians, Cody Ross signing with Arizona (three years, $26 million with a fourth year club option) and the Pirates sending Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt to Boston for Mark Melancon, Jerry Sands, Ivan DeJesus Jr. and Stolmy Pimentel to free up payroll for Francisco Liriano, there was not much action.
The Cubs have yet to announce the deals with Carlos Villanueva and Edwin Jackson and it could be the New Year before both signings are announced. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer still have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster before they can officially add both players.
The Cubs are believed to still be looking for a right-handed platoon partner for Ian Stewart and help in the pen. Plus, are the Cubs still talking to teams about Alfonso Soriano?
As outfielders such as Cody Ross, Raul Ibanez and Nick Swisher come off the board, the market seems to increase for Alfonso Soriano. The Yankees, Orioles and Phillies are rumored to be interested in Soriano, could the Rays be as well?
The Yankees do not appear willing to add a multi-year contract to the books, regardless of how much of Soriano’s remained $36 million the Cubs are willing to eat. The Yankees also do not have the type of pitching prospects the Cubs are looking for in return for Soriano.
The Orioles have been connected to Soriano the past two off-seasons and he reportedly rejected a trade to Baltimore last year. Soriano has a relationship with Buck Showalter from their days together in Texas.
The Phillies seem to be a very good fit for Soriano and according to multiple reports, the two teams have discussed parameters of two different deals for Soriano … one that would include Domonic Brown and the other that would net the Cubs pitching in return for Soriano. The Phillies are looking to add a right-handed hitting corner outfielder that can hit in the middle of the lineup and split up Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
The Rays would also seem to be a fit for Soriano, especially with the Cubs willingness to reportedly eat all but $10 million of the $36 million left owed to Soriano over the next two seasons. The possibility was discussed on MLB Network Radio during Power Alley on Wednesday morning. Both Mike Ferrin and Mike Stanton think that Soriano would make sense for the Rays if the Cubs are indeed willing to make him a $5 million per year player. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays are still looking for a “bat or two.”
News, Notes and Rumors
David and Kim DeJesus are hosting a fashion show on Thursday, January 17 to benefit ALS Research and Support (Lou Gehrig’s disease). The Strike-A-Pose Celebrity Fashion Show will feature current Cubs such as Darwin Barney, Shawn Camp, Tony Campana, Starlin Castro, Steve Clevenger, David DeJesus, Scott Feldman, Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, James Russell, Ian Stewart and Travis Wood. Kerry Wood is also scheduled to attend the event that is the day before the kickoff of the Cubs Convention on January 18. Those interested in buying tickets click here.
The Cubs have been connected to both Kyle Farnsworth and lefty J.P. Howell this off-season. While those rumors are a couple of weeks old, both relievers are still in the mix to fill a spot or two in the Rays’ pen according to the Tampa Bay Times.
An interesting article was posted on SI.com at the beginning of the month about Johnny Evers.
The Cubs Convention begins in just 22 days … and pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park in 45 days.