Pitching remains a priority for the Cubs as the front office continues their pursuit of Masahiro Tanaka. But if they are unable to sign Tanaka do not look for the Cubs to turn their attention to Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana. The Cubs will likely look at re-signing Scott Baker or another free agent like Jason Hammel to add a starter to the roster.
A reunion with Matt Garza has not been an option and Patrick Mooney confirmed once again the Cubs do not appear to have any interest in re-signing him. Mooney’s sources indicated the Cubs “are not planning to go after Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez.” Both pitchers are tied to draft pick compensation and they do not fit the team’s long-term plan.
Patrick Mooney reported the Cubs had interest in Ervin Santana last off-season. The Cubs discussed two different deals with the Angels, one for Dan Haren and the other for Ervin Santana. The Haren for Carlos Marmol trade fell apart and Santana was dealt to the Royals.
If the Cubs are unable to sign Masahiro Tanaka this off-season, “they could potentially roll the savings over to next December” according to Patrick Mooney when the free agent class could include Max Scherzer, Justin Masterson, Homer Bailey, Jon Lester, James Shields and Clayton Kershaw.
One of the big topics during next weekend’s convention will be Jeff Samardzija’s future with the Cubs. Jeff Samardzija has been rather vocal about his desire to stay and win with the Cubs. But he wants to know the Cubs’ long-term plan. Samardzija wants to play meaningful games late in the season and the bottom line he is tired of losing.
The Cubs and Samardzija continue to discuss a long-term contract. The two sides “remain far apart on a long-term deal” according to Patrick Mooney. But both sides remain hopeful “they can eventually find common ground.”
If the Cubs trade Jeff Samardzija this year it could be in-season and near the July 31 trade deadline. The front office is not willing to give Samardzija away and is asking a lot in return for him.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have said on the record they would like for Samardzija to stay with the Cubs beyond the two years he is under team control.
Korean RHP Suk-Min Yoon was on the Cubs’ radar earlier in the off-season but after failing to sign with Major League team, Yoon returned home prior to the holidays and left it up to Scott Boras to find a job for him.
Four teams are reportedly interested in Suk-Min Yoon at this time. Yoon is expected to return to the States on Jan. 15 to work out a deal with one of the teams. It is unknown if the Cubs are one of the four teams at this time.
Spring Training is just around the corner, pitchers and catchers report in 33 days. And Tim Sheridan provided a tour of Cubs Park on Boys of Spring. The facilities look amazing and Tim posted several excellent photos. If you go by to take a look, let him know the CCO sent you.
The box office at Cubs Park opens on Saturday at 10:00am MT so fans can purchase single-game tickets to Cubs’ Spring Training games. Ticket buyers will be able to grab a sneak peak of the park. The Grand Opening for Cubs Park is scheduled for Jan. 25.
And speaking of Spring Training tickets, single game tickets for Cubs Park go on sale at 11:00am CST on Saturday morning through Cubs.com.
ESPN released their schedule for Opening Day on Thursday … and the Cubs and Pirates game from PNC Park will be televised on ESPN. First pitch is scheduled for March 31 at 12:00pm CST and figures to be a matchup between Jeff Samardzija and Gerrit Cole … at least with the way the Cubs and Pirates rosters are currently constructed.
News and Notes
Cubs’ pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in 33 days (Feb. 13). The first official workout for pitchers and catchers is on Feb. 14 with the first full squad practice scheduled for Feb. 19 … just 39 days away. The Cubs and Diamondbacks square off at Cubs Park on Feb. 27 in the Cactus League opener.
The White Sox signed former Cubs’ utility man Eric Patterson to a minor league contract.
ESPN released their list of the top players in baseball history and several former Cubs made the cut … Billy Williams (121), Dennis Eckersley (117), Ryne Sandberg (112), Rafael Palmeiro (108), Ron Santo (97), Sammy Sosa (95), Cap Anson (89), Ferguson Jenkins (64), Ernie Banks (53), Grover Cleveland Alexander (51), Rogers Hornsby (15) and Greg Maddux (13).