Not only are the Cubs waiting on Jon Lester, but the front office has roster decisions to make while looking for backup options in the outfield. Thursday is the deadline (10:59pm CST) for teams to file their reserve rosters at the Major League and minor league levels to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft.
The Cubs have two open spots on the 40-man roster to add minor leaguers to the roster and C.J. Edwards will take one of the valuable spots.
Patrick Mooney confirmed the Cubs are one of the five teams that have shown legitimate interest in Jonny Gomes. The Cubs have been linked to Jonny Gomes for a while. Gomes has a “strong relationship” with Joe Maddon according to Patrick Mooney. And Jesse Rogers mentioned again Wednesday the Cubs have shown interest in Michael Morse.
Chris Denorfia is another name that has been floated by the mainstream media as a possibility for a backup outfielder.
Jed Hoyer indicated the front office was looking for veteran players in an everyday role, on the bench, in the pen and for the rotation prior to the GM Meetings, basically four players for four spots that could provide leadership in four specific areas. But with Russell Martin out of the picture, the front office could add two veteran position players in back-up roles.
Jon Lester is scheduled to meet with the Braves (Thursday) as his free agent tour continues. The Red Sox submitted their first offer to Lester earlier this week that is reportedly for six-years and in the $110-120 million range. Reports Wednesday night out of Boston indicated the Red Sox are flexible and will add to the offer in order to re-sign Lester.
In an interview on MLB Network Radio, Nick Cafardo reiterated Lester is the Red Sox’s top priority, especially with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer making such a strong push for Lester. Peter Gammons has said if the Yankees were also involved in the bidding for Lester, this would be Larry Lucchino’s worst nightmare.
Gammons thinks it will end up being between the Red Sox and Cubs for Lester. The latest contract estimate for Lester has the southpaw inking a six-year deal in the $130-150 million range.
Nick Cafardo said Wednesday that James Shields is still a possibility for the Red Sox, along with trading for Cole Hamels.
Ryan Dempster was on The Kap & Haugh Show on Wednesday and was asked about his former teammate. And Dempster said, “Jon Lester is truly interested in the Cubs. He genuinely loves the city. He is seriously considering them.”
Dempster explained that Lester was asking about the Cubs during the 2013 season when it was looking like the Red Sox were not going to sign him to an extension. Lester asked what it was like to play for the Cubs. What is was like for his family. Dempster said he’s not using the Cubs to drive up his price. Dempster admitted he would “love to see Lester here in Cubbie Blue” and is trying to recruit him.
The front office was very quick Wednesday morning in shooting down Bruce Levine’s report the Cubs were one of the teams that had inquired about Nick Swisher.
Within 10 minutes of Bruce Miles’ first report, all of the beat writers tweeted out information from their sources saying the Cubs have not contacted the Indians and do not plan to because there is no interest in acquiring Nick Swisher. Bruce Miles said his source vehemently denied the report. And Bruce Levine, to his credit, issued a retraction to his report.
News, Notes and Rumors
Joe Maddon was still working on his coaching staff late last week. Only small changes are expected to be made with Maddon retaining the pitching infrastructure in Chris Bosio, Lester Strode and Mike Borzello … and the hitting coaches John Mallee and Eric Hinske. Gary Jones, the team’s third base coach last year, decided to leave according to the Sun-Times when Rick Renteria was fired. Jose Castro also departed to take the assistant hitting coach job in Atlanta. Updates on Doug Dascenzo and Brandon Hyde have not been provided.
According to Buster Olney, Plan B for the Cubs after being outbid for Russell Martin is Welington Castillo … but, the Cubs will continue to look at other catching options.
David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution “is fairly sure the ship has sailed” on an Edwin Jackson–B.J. Upton swap. The Cubs and Braves reportedly discussed a deal before the deadline last July that would have exchanged two bad contracts. And it was believed the two teams might talk about a swap again this winter. When asked what changed, O’Brien said one thing was Joe Maddon being hired.
Buster Olney posted his ranking of the top 10 second basemen in the game. Obviously no one in a Cubs jersey made the list or received an honorable mention. Robinson Cano (Mariners), Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox), Jose Altuve (Astros), Ian Kinsler (Tigers) and Ben Zobrist (Rays) were the five second sackers at the top of Olney’s list while Jason Kipnis (Indians), Chase Utley (Phillies), Neil Walker (Pirates), Howie Kendrick (Angels) and Brian Dozier (Twins) rounded out the top 10.
Bruce Levine confirmed the report from Nick Piecoro, the Diamondbacks called Tim Wilken to interview him for Arizona’s scouting director’s job.
With Thursday’s deadline for all 30 big league teams to file their reserve rosters, Jonathan Mayo posted a list of the top prospects in the game that will have to added to his team’s 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.
From Ace of MLB Stats: Anthony Rizzo (2013-14) is the youngest Cubs’ player with 60-plus extra basehits in consecutive seasons since Hall of Famer Ron Santo (1963-64).
Alex Speier posted contract possibilities for Jon Lester.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Blue Jays are in the mix for Pablo Sandoval as Nick Cafardo reported. Rosenthal’s reports about Sandoval contained information about the Blue Jays having a policy of limiting a player’s contract to five years. If that’s the case, not only would Toronto be out on Sandoval, but that would take the Jays out of the running for Jon Lester.
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs signed free agent Casper Wells
2007 – Cubs signed free agent Cory Bailey
2007 – Cubs signed free agent Andres Blanco
2007 – Cubs signed free agent J.D. Closser
2007 – Cubs signed free agent Mike Smith
2007 – Cubs signed free agent Andres Torres
2006 – Cubs signed free agent Alfonso Soriano
2006 – Cubs signed free agent Mike Kinkade
2001 – Cubs signed free agent Joe Borowski
2000 – Cubs acquired Matt Stairs from the A’s for Eric Ireland
1996 – Cubs acquired Miguel Cairo from the Blue Jays for Jason Stevenson
1989 – Cubs traded Mitch Webster to the Indians for Dave Clark
1987 – Don Zimmer was named Cubs manager. Zimmer was hired by Jim Frey and put together a 265-258 record in his three-plus years as the skipper of the Cubs. The Boys of Zimmer were the 1989 National League Eastern Division Champions.
1981 – Sam Fuld, born
1967 – Alex Arias, born
1952 – Hank Sauer was named National League Most Valuable Player
1947 – Cubs selected Jackie Mayo from the Phillies in the Rule 5 Draft
1945 – Rick Monday, born
1945 – Jay Johnstone, born
1869 – Clark Griffith, born