The Cubs priority this off-season is to add pitching to what was proven to be a rather thin rotation. And the biggest free agent starting pitchers from David Price to Jordan Zimmermann to Zack Greinke have already been connected to the Cubs.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer said last week there were several areas the front office would like to address this winter, along with the pitching staff. The front office would like to improve the team’s outfield defense and cut down the strikeouts with an emphasis on making more contact.
Joel Sherman reported Wednesday the Cubs are one of many teams expected to be in the mix for Royals’ left fielder Alex Gordon if he declines the $14 million option for the 2016 season. Gordon would like to stay in Kansas City and the Royals will try to re-sign him if he elects free agency.
Alex Gordon could be looking at a five-year contract north of $75 million even though he turns 32 in February.
Questions have been raised to the credibility of Sherman’s report. The Cubs have a rather talented group of position players. It’s pitching that they lack and where many believe the team should allocate the available dollars this winter.
Peter Gammons confirmed the Cubs interest in Alex Gordon. Gammons also provided a little insight on the direction the front office could go on the free agent pitching market and which players the Cubs could move to acquire pitching.
During an interview Friday on Mully & Haugh (670 The Score), Peter Gammons was asked about what moves the Cubs could make this off-season, specifically should the front office buy pitching or trade assets for it and what players should they trade for pitching?
“I think they go out and sign a pitcher but I think it will be more of a veteran innings guy, third or fourth starter, a stabilizer,” Gammons said.
“I’ve heard a lot about them possibly going out after Alex Gordon, who would give them a very stable presence in the order with all the young kids and also a great defender, best left fielder in the game.”
“I think there is a chance, I think there is a pretty good chance they will see what they can get for [Starlin] Castro and [Jorge] Soler,” Gammons said. “And then go from there.”
On the free agent front, two pitchers the Cubs have been connected to fit what Gammons said the Cubs could sign, John Lackey and Jeff Samardzija. Plus, the front office has history with both pitchers. The Cardinals and White Sox will reportedly make qualifying offers to Lackey and Samardzija. It is really hard to see the Cubs surrendering their first two picks in the draft, plus the slot money, to sign either Lackey or Samardzija and Alex Gordon even with the possibility of getting a draft pick back for Dexter Fowler signing with another team.
As for dealing either Starlin Castro or Jorge Soler for starting pitchers, the Padres, Braves and/or Indians could match up with the Cubs.
The Cubs have been linked to Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner and the Padres have shown interest in Starlin Castro in the past. The Indians would reportedly like to add a power-hitting right fielder and have Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar that could be used in a trade for Jorge Soler. The Braves also like Soler and reports have suggested Atlanta would be willing to include Julio Teheran in the right deal.
Based on the reports over the last eight days, the Cubs are already exploring multiple options to improve the roster. And baseball’s off-season hasn’t officially begun yet.