Braves Appear Out of the Running for Jeff Samardzija and Other Cubs News and Rumors

According to reports from David O’Brien and Mark Bowman, the Braves are no longer interested in trading for Jeff Samardzija. Both David O’Brien and Mark Bowman reported the Cubs’ asking price forced Frank Wren to look into different options to add starting pitching to his roster. Bowman indicated the Braves interest in Samardzija “died more than a week ago.”

The Braves decided to take a gamble on Gavin Floyd and signed the former Southsider to a one-year, $4 million contract that could pay Floyd an additional $4.5 million. Floyd is recovering from Tommy John surgery last May and is expected to miss at least the first month of the season. The Braves view the addition of Floyd as the depth they needed for their starting staff. Frank Wren told the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “I don’t think that we’re going to be actively pursuing starters at this point.”

The Diamondbacks are more focused on free agent starting pitchers than trading for a top of the rotation arm. And appear to have cooled in their desire to trade for Jeff Samardzija. Ken Rosenthal reported that Kevin Towers said it would be difficult for Arizona to trade for a starter.

The Cubs are believed to be asking a lot for Samardzija, and they should. Jeff Samardzija would be a cost effective starter for the next two years with the stuff to pitch at the top of a winning rotation. But if Atlanta, Arizona and Toronto are out of the mix for Samardzija, the Cubs could revisit deals with other teams and see if anyone will meet their asking price. And if they cannot trade him or extend him this winter, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer could always hang onto Jeff Samardzija and try to move him in July.

Darwin Barney

The Cubs and Yankees are having dialogue about a deal that would send Darwin Barney to the Bronx. Bruce Levine first reported the possibility a couple of weeks back. The Yankees are exploring ways to fill out their second base position and could turn to the Cubs for Darwin Barney.

According to Jim Bowden, the two teams are having trouble matching up on a deal for Darwin Barney. It is unclear at this point what the Cubs are asking for in return for Barney.

The Yankees are exploring all avenues to add infielders to their roster, and just not at second base. Brian Cashman does not know if Alex Rodriguez will be suspended or not and if he is many feel he will receive at least a 100-game suspension. Jon Heyman connected the Yankees to Mark Reynolds, Michael Young and Brian Roberts on Monday night. Ken Rosenthal reported late Monday night the Yankees are “likely” to sign Brian Roberts according to his sources.

Updated 8:03am CSTBrian Roberts and Yankees have agreement for 1-year deal worth around $2M plus incentives according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi.

Reliever Options

The Cubs lost one option to add a veteran arm to the bullpen on Sunday night when John Axford agreed to terms on a one-year contract to close games for the Indians. Cleveland announced Axford’s one-year deal on Monday and the Tribe will pay him $4.5 million, plus incentives, in 2014.

The Cubs are believed to be one of the six teams interested in signing Mitchell Boggs and they have interest in LHP Clayton Richard and LHP Jonathan Sanchez for a spot in the bullpen … not as starters.

Jonathan Sanchez has narrowed his choices down to three teams and one of the three could be the Cubs. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are thought to be the only ones offering Sanchez a contract as a reliever and not a starter.

Joaquin Benoit was thought to be close to a deal with the Padres over the weekend and RHP Jesse Crain is getting a lot of attention. The Cubs were connected to Crain early in the off-season. Rehabbing Joel Hanrahan, Chris Perez and Kevin Gregg are also looking for jobs, but have not been connected to the Cubs (yet) this winter.

The Cubs are looking to add a least one late-inning reliever to the roster.

Wesley Wright

The Cubs announced the signing of free-agent southpaw Wesley Wright on Monday. The Cubs agreed to terms on a one-year, $1.425 million contract with the reliever on Dec. 4. With Wright officially on the Cubs’ roster, the team now has four lefty relievers on their 40-man roster.

With Wesley Wright officially in the fold, the Cubs’ 40-man roster stands at 39 players.

Minor Moves

According to Baseball America several players that were in the Cubs’ system last year have signed contracts with new teams. RHP Dayan Diaz inked a minor league contract with the Red Sox. Johermyn Chavez is now in the Royals’ system and Cole Gillespie signed with the Mariners.

News and Notes

Landing the Cubs’ radio gig was a dream come true for Ron Coomer according to the Tribune.

Ken Rosenthal stated his case on why he thinks the Cubs should trade for David Price.

Theo Epstein pointed out to the Chicago Sun-Times, Cubs’ prospects could suffer the same fate as Mark Prior.

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Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney