The rumor mill heated up on Tuesday amongst all of the Hall of Fame debate … and the Cubs seemed to be right in the middle of the rumors.
Alfonso Soriano is one of many outfielders reportedly on the trading block. According to Ken Rosenthal, Soriano remains an option for the Phillies as they explore ways to add a right-handed corner outfielder to their lineup. But with Adam LaRoche re-signing with the Nationals on a two-year, $24 million deal, Michael Morse is now available and that could end up limiting the Cubs’ options on where they could trade Soriano … and what they might be able to receive in return.
The on-again, off-again Alfonso Soriano rumors appear to be on-again. Prior to the New Year, Jim Bowden reported that the Phillies had a deal on the table for Soriano but were waiting to see where Michael Bourn ended up signing. Bruce Levine shot that rumor down less than a week later by indicating that the two teams had not discussed a possible deal for Soriano in weeks but according to Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies continue to look at all options for a right-handed hitting outfielder. The Phillies have looked into signing free agent Scott Harrison (who is expected to choose one of the New York teams in a matter of days) and trades for Alfonso Soriano and the Angels’ Vernon Wells. Charlie Manuel likes Darin Ruf and the team has discussed starting the season with platoons in both left and right field.
Soriano reportedly would like to stay on the East Coast and while it is unlikely that the Nationals would trade Michael Morse to the Phillies, three teams that have been connected to Soriano are reportedly interested in Morse … the Orioles, Rangers and the Yankees. The Rays are also in the mix and while Soriano has not been connected to Tampa by the mainstream media, many feel Soriano would be a good fit in Tampa, especially if the Cubs send enough money with him to make him a $5 million per season outfielder.
According to Jim Bowden, there are 10-11 teams in on Michael Morse with the Mariners, Rays and Yankees being the most active trying to land the slugger. But according to multiple reports, Morse is “strong opposed” to being used as a designated hitter.
The Boston Globe reported Sunday that Soriano is likely to go elsewhere this off-season and could be “an effective, almost free player” if the Cubs can find the right value in return.
Alfonso Soriano is scheduled to be at the Cubs Convention, which begins a week from Friday.
A rumor surfaced Tuesday morning that the Cubs, Tigers and Orioles were discussing a three-way trade that would land Rick Porcello in Chicago. The Cubs would reportedly send pitching to the Orioles, and Baltimore would send shortstop J.J. Hardy to Detroit.
Baltimore is looking for pitching help according Roch Kubatko and the Cubs would need the Orioles involved in the trade because they do not match up with the Tigers in a two-team trade for Porcello. Kubatko questioned why the Tigers and Orioles would need the Cubs to make a deal work … but according to Ken Rosenthal, the Tigers and Orioles couldn’t find a match on a Rick Porcello trade.
Theo Epstein and the Cubs Future
Theo Epstein spoke with Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe and said he feels the Cubs are further along in the building process than they were this time last year. The Cubs had one core player, Starlin Castro, when Epstein took over baseball operations for the Cubs in October of 2011 and now they view Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzija and others as part of the core moving forward. Epstein is hoping that prospects such as Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, Javier Baez, Brett Jackson and Arodys Vizcaino will all be in the big leagues together in 2015.
T-Mobile Partners with MLB
T-Mobile and Major League Baseball announced a multi-year technology and marketing agreement on Tuesday night. As part of the new partnership, T-Mobile will provide MLB with a new On-Field Communication System and the first use will be connecting dugouts to coaches in the bullpen.
As Darren Rovell pointed out, the Cubs tried to use wireless communication between the dugout and the bullpen in 2006 as part of their agreement with Motorola … and it was a short-lived experiment.
This is the last day to vote on the Cubs’ best move of the off-season to this point. The poll will be closed Wednesday night.
News, Notes and Rumors
According to T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers haven’t ruled out signing Michael Bourn or Kyle Lohse.
Speaking of Michael Bourn, while the media continues to try and link him with the Cubs, the Braves have not closed the door on re-signing Bourn.
Matt Garza tweeted Monday that since it was a new week, it was time to set new goals and do what must be done to achieve them. As Jed Hoyer pointed out, the best way to know how Matt Garza is doing this off-season is to follow him on Twitter.
According to Rob Biertempfel, Francisco Liriano injured his right arm in December and the two-year contract that he agreed to with Pittsburgh is not done yet … and no deal is imminent between the southpaw and the Battlin’ Bucs.
The Cubs were rumored to have interest in signing Grady Sizemore last off-season before he re-upped with the Indians on a one-year deal. Sizemore did not play for Cleveland last year and according to Ken Rosenthal, Sizemore will not sign with a team until he is ready to play again. Sizemore had microfracture surgery on his right knee in September. The Cubs have not been connected to Sizemore by the mainstream media this winter, but don’t be surprised if those rumors start up, if he is ever healthy enough to play.