The Cubs figure to be very active over the next five days leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline on Wednesday. Theo Epstein reiterated the team would like to turn short-term pieces into long-term assets on Friday.
ESPN Chicago reported players such as Nate Schierholtz, David DeJesus, Kevin Gregg and James Russell could be traded prior to the deadline. Of those four players, Gregg is the only one that the Cubs do not have control over past this year. Schierholtz is arbitration eligible, the Cubs have a club option on DeJesus and Russell is under team control for two more seasons. Dioner Navarro could also be moved at some point prior to the deadline. Epstein said on Friday there are “some things” the Cubs would like to explore but the remaining deals could go down to the deadline before they are finalized.
Theo Epstein spoke with the media on Friday afternoon. Epstein explained the Cubs “set out to be pro-active, especially with starting pitching” and planned to move both Scott Feldman and Matt Garza early in the month before additional starting pitchers flooded the market. Epstein is obviously happy with the players they have added to the system this month. And pointed out, now they have to develop the players “and make sure they make a positive impact on winning Cubs teams for years to come.”
Epstein feels the organization is getting healthy and said, “We’re focused on building a healthy productive organization with a robust farm system.”
Epstein also discussed trading Alfonso Soriano and said it was just the right time for the Cubs to trade him. Epstein explained that Soriano was looking at his playing time being diminished because the team is looking for ways to open up at bats this season for other players such as Junior Lake, Ryan Sweeney and Brian Bogusevic.
According to Joel Sherman, the Cubs felt they had to trade Alfonso Soriano while they could. Sherman reported the Cubs were not sure if they would have been able to trade him in the off-season. The concern with Soriano, according to Sherman, is that Soriano will be limited to a platoon role next year and the Yankees would have not been willing to deal for him over the winter. Multiple reports suggested Friday that Soriano was only willing to waive his no-trade rights to return to the Yankees.
The Cubs made a minor trade on Friday when they dealt RHP Guillermo Moscoso to the Giants for a PTBNL or cash considerations. The Cubs claimed Moscoso off waivers from the Blue Jays on March 27.
The 29-year old posted a 7-5 record in 17 starts with the I-Cubs this season with a 3.93 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. The Cubs claimed Moscoso to provide starting pitching depth. The recent additions to the organization made Moscoso expendable. Moscoso is expected to be in a Giants’ uniform for Saturday night’s game.
Injuries have depleted the Giants’ pitching depth so the Cubs were able to turn a waiver claim into either a player to be named later of cash for the third time this year.
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez
A report from Patrick Mooney earlier in the week indicated the Cubs would not be in on the final bidding for Cuban RHP Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, and Mooney was correct.
The Phillies signed Gonzalez to an enormous deal on Friday night. Gonzalez signed a six-year, $48 million contract that includes a vesting option for a seventh season worth $11 million.
According to Jeff Passan, the Phillies beat out the Red Sox in the bidding war for Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.
Kris Bryant hit his first professional home run on Friday night and it was not a cheap shot. Bryant belted a three-run homer.
News and Notes
The Cubs do not have any players left in the organization with no-trade clauses or no-trade protection in their contracts. The team will not include no-trade clauses in player’s contracts moving forward while Theo Epstein is President of Baseball Operations.
RHP Trevor Clifton made his pro debut on Friday night with the AZL Cubs. Clifton did not give up a hit but walked two batters in a scoreless inning. Clifton was reportedly in the 90-92 mph range and touched 96 mph with his fastball.
Nate Schierholtz is used to the trade rumors but loves playing for the Cubs and would like to stay.