Multiple reports have suggested the Royals will try to re-sign James Shields this off-season, but according to a report from Andy Martino, Kansas City does not think they will be able to outbid a team like the Red Sox for his services. Boston is expected to make a full court press for Shields once he hits the market. According to the report, Kansas City will not be able to match the four or five year offer a team like the Red Sox could make to Shields.
The Cubs are believed to have some level of interest in Shields, but the industry buzz remains Jon Lester will be the front office’s big off-season signing.
Nick Markakis and the Outfield
The front office is exploring ways to add veteran leadership and players that can get on base at the top of the lineup to the roster, and if those players could hit left handed so much the better. One of the areas the Cubs might look to upgrade is the outfield.
As Tony Andracki reported Arismendy Alcantara (CF), Jorge Soler (RF) and Chris Coghlan (LF) would be the Cubs starting outfield if the season began today. Theo Epstein alluded to the fact the front office sees Coghlan as more of a fourth outfielder, even with the offensive numbers he put up after he became the team’s everyday left fielder.
Coghlan is appreciative of the opportunity he had to play last year and understands baseball is a business. Coghlan is under team control for 2015 and is expected to be part of the big league team in 2015.
According to the report from Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs could explore signing Nick Markakis. The Orioles are not expected to pick-up its half of the $17.5 million option for next season. Baltimore will reportedly pay the $2 million buyout and slap a qualifying offer on him. The Orioles would save a little money ($200,000) and if he rejects the QO, the Orioles would receive draft pick compensation.
Nick Markakis is one of Orioles owner Peter Angelos’ favorites, same as Brian Roberts, and it’s not believed Angelos will allow Markakis walk. Markakis turns 31 in November and hit .276/.342/.386 in 155 games with 27 doubles, a triple, 14 home runs and a .729 OPS.
According to a report from Hardball Talk citing Bill Ladson as the source, Denard Span is hoping the Nationals will pick up his $9 million option for 2015. The Nationals have not made a final decision yet and may take until after the World Series to let Span know if the team will be exercising the option or not.
The Cubs are one of the many teams that are expected to make a run at Span if he hits the free agent market. Span will receive a hefty contract if he becomes a free agent.
News and Notes
From Christopher Kamka – Of all the players currently on the Cubs roster, the player with the most career MLB games played was born in 1990 – Starlin Castro has played 740 games in the Majors, and the 24-year old has 846 hits.
According to Nick Cafardo, Bill Mueller has discussed different job with different organizations. Mueller resigned his position as the Cubs hitting coach.
This Day In Cubs History
2000 – Cubs granted free agency to Tarrik Brock, Raul Gonzalez, Brent Hinchliffe, Keith Luuloa, Vincente Palacios, Danny Young and Mark Dalesandro
1986 – Cubs granted free agency to Terry Francona
1966 – Cubs released Joey Amalfitano
1966 – Cubs released Marty Keough
1955 – Ralph Kiner announced his retirement. The Hall of Famer played for the Cubs in 1953-54.
1949 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Andy Varga
1939 – Cubs released Jack Russell
1939 – Cubs released Earl Whitehill
1886 – The Chicago National League Ball Club won the opener of the Championship Series by beating the Browns 6-0 behind John Clarkson at West Side Park.