Theo Epstein met with the beat writers Wednesday afternoon in San Diego and shot down several internet reports about the Cubs pursuing a “big bat” and another top of the rotation-type starter on the free agent market, like James Shields.
Epstein did not address signing Jon Lester but he did say the Cubs would not be adding a second nine-figure starting pitcher this off-season. The Cubs are not expected to give up the package of players it would take to acquire a bat like Justin Upton for one year either.
The Cubs president of baseball ops pointed out the acquisitions the Cubs have made to this point have cost mostly money, a draft pick was not lost with signing Jon Lester and acquiring Miguel Montero meant sending two A-ball prospects to Arizona.
Theo Epstein told the beat writers, “It’s all about long-term thinking. People ask if we’re all-in for ‘15. I think the best response is we’re all-in for the future and the future starts in ’15. We’re aware of what we’re growing. We haven’t given up any of our most significant prospects in the deals. We haven’t given up our draft pick in any of these deals. We’ve preserved our future. That’s always going to be something that’s important to us, because we’re trying to build towards a long run where we can have success year-in, year-out. We’re not going to sacrifice that.”
The front office would like to add a veteran outfielder, a bullpen arm and possibly another starter like Justin Masterson. Epstein said the Cubs may make another deal before leaving San Diego.
Rule 5 Draft and PTBNLs
The Winter Meetings conclude with the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning. The draft is scheduled to begin at 11:00am CST (9:00am PT). A couple of the players the front office did not add to the 40-man roster to protect could be selected, like LHP Andrew McKirahan.
It is unclear at this point if the Cubs will take a chance on a player. The Cubs have room on the 40-man roster to select a player. The roster officially stands at 38 players. Jason Hammel and Jon Lester have not been added because their deals are not official.
The Cubs have to send a player to the Red Sox to complete the deal for LHP Felix Doubront. And the Cubs will receive a player from Oakland to complete the July 4 deal that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A’s for Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, Dan Straily and a PTBNL.
According to multiple reports Wednesday, the Cubs are pursuing free agent OF Jonny Gomes.
Jonny Gomes is also interested signing with the Cubs. And Joe Maddon told the Sun-Times that he has a “man crush” on Jonny Gomes.
The Cubs have interest in David Ross, but several teams have contacted Ross, including the Padres, and he is weighing his options.
The Cubs would like to trade Edwin Jackson, but according to Gordon Wittenmyer, any “discussions involving him are almost nonstarters, even with the assumption the Cubs will pick up a sizeable portion of the contract.”
As for swapping Jackson for another player with a bad contract, Gordon Wittenmyer indicated that may be possible, just not for B.J. Upton.
News, Notes and Rumors
Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester exchanged tweets Wednesday morning and Arrieta told ESPN Chicago that he is “giddy to get going.” Arrieta has a lot of respect for Lester and called him a true professional. Kyle Hendricks said he planned to pick Lester’s brain as much as possible in Spring Training. Several of the players posted their reaction to the Lester signing on Twitter … and there is a sense of excitement from the players as well.
Jake Arrieta told Carrie Muskat he is fine with Jon Lester being the ace of the Cubs staff.
Jon Lester is 0-for-36 at the plate in his career. Lester did not make a pickoff throw to first base during the 2014 season, would be basestealers were 16-for-21 against him last year.
A small part of the Dodgers crazy day and night at the Winter Meetings included signing Brandon McCarthy to a four-year, $48 million contract according to a report from Ken Rosenthal.
Joel Sherman took a look at the big winners, losers and questions of the Jon Lester signing.
According to Patrick Mooney, the Cubs are not interested in trading for any of the Dodgers’ outfielders (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford).
Comcast SportsNet asked, what’s next after Jon Lester splash?
Scott Boras loves seeing the Cubs back in the free-agent pool with Jon Lester according to Comcast SportsNet.
The Cardinals saw the Cubs ready to make a splash according to Derrick Goold.
This Day In Cubstory
2009 – Cubs signed free agent Marlon Byrd
2008 – Pirates selected Donnie Veal from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
2008 – Reds selected David Patton from the Rockies in the Rule 5 Draft. The Cubs purchased David Patton from the Reds in a pre-draft arrangement.
2006 – Cubs signed free agent Cory Bailey
2006 – Cubs signed free agent Josh Kroeger
2006 – Cubs signed free agent Mike Mahoney
2002 – Cubs released Angel Echevarria
2001 – Cubs traded Nate Teut to the Marlins for Jesus Sanchez
2001 – Mark Prior wins the Golden Spikes Award as the top amateur baseball player in the U.S.
2000 – Cubs selected Scott Chiasson from the A’s in the Rule 5 Draft
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Joe Borowski
1997 – Cubs acquired Sandy Martinez from the Blue Jays for a PTBNL. The Cubs sent Trevor Schaffer to Toronto on Dec. 19 to complete the trade.
1992 – Cubs signed free agent Candy Maldonado
1991 – Cubs released Yorkis Perez
1985 – Cubs traded Dave Owen to the Giants for Manny Trillo
1984 – Cubs traded Dickie Noles to the Rangers for Tim Henry and Jorge Gomez
1980 – Cubs traded Cliff Johnson and Keith Drumright to the A’s for Mike King
1973 – Cubs traded Ron Santo to the White Sox for Steve Stone, Steve Swisher, Ken Frailing and a PTBNL. The Cubs received Jim Kremmel from the Sox on Dec. 18 to complete the trade.
1956 – Cubs acquired Charlie Silvera, cash and a PTBNL from the Yankees for a PTBNL. Cubs sent Harry Chiti to the Yankees on Dec. 14.
1956 – Cubs traded Jim Davis, Sam Jones, Hobie Landrith and Eddie Miksis to the Cardinals for Wally Lammers, Jackie Collum, Ray Katt and Tom Poholsky.
1948 – Gene Hiser, born
1931 – Cubs traded Hack Wilson and Bud Teachout to the Cardinals for Burleigh Grimes
1925 – Cubs acquired Jimmy Cooney from the Cardinals for Vic Keen
1917 – Cubs traded Pickles Dillhoefer, Mike Predergast and $55,000 to the Phillies for Bill Killefer and Grover Cleveland Alexander
1914 – Bill Nicholson, born
1912 – Cubs purchased Al Bridwell from the Braves