The Cubs priority this winter is to add pitching either through free agency or trades. The Cubs have been linked to the big name free agents but will also look for value in the market to build depth to a rather thin pitching staff.
The Cubs could deal from the position player inventory the front office has built over the last four years to acquire pitching and fill other areas the front office must address. And the Cubs have been connected to several teams they could matchup with in deals this winter.
During an interview Saturday on the Cubs’ new flagship station, 670 The Score, Jed Hoyer told Bruce Levine and Mike Esposito the front office had pretty serious discussions with teams this past week at the GM Meetings.
“Obviously we’ve touched base with every team since the end of the season,” Hoyer said. “You kind of get a feel for which teams you just don’t matchup with at all. Some teams are looking for exactly the same things we are, so you will never matchup. You kind of cross them off the list.”
“We probably had pretty serious discussions with maybe a dozen, maybe 15 teams at the Meetings. Obviously some of whom we felt right away were really good matches. Some we felt like just make sure we stay in touch with. Sort of like the agent process, I think that is sort of the same process you start in October getting a feel for what teams are looking for. It’s impossible to really stay in touch with 29 teams. And like I said, you don’t matchup with 29 teams.”
“We try to stay in touch with the dozen or so that you might really have a match with. We do have a good match with, matches with teams that really like our young hitters,” Hoyer said. “That’s our strength. We are certainly not looking to move our strength. At the same time we have a commodity that is rare and so a lot of teams do check in with us.”
Various reports have linked the Cubs to the Padres, Indians, Yankees, Red Sox and Braves as possible trade partners. The Padres have starting pitchers (Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, James Shields) that could be of interest to the Cubs.
The Indians reportedly like Jorge Soler and multiple reports since July have indicated the Cubs are interested in Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. The Braves have a young, controllable arm that is also believed to be available in Julio Teheran. Some think there is a match with the Cubs and Braves in a deal that could include Jorge Soler.
“We haven’t hid the ball this winter,” Hoyer said. “We need to acquire starting pitching.”
“Obviously if Dexter [Fowler] moves on via free agency, center field is an area of need for us. Some winters I think we are probably more coy about what we are looking for. I think this winter it’s pretty clear to everyone what we are going to go after. It does make the matchups a little bit easier.”
“You can identify which teams sort of have what we are looking for and which teams don’t. But yeah for the most part we are looking to strengthen a lot of areas of our team but in particular starting pitching and if Dexter moves on in free agency then obviously center field is a need as well.”
The Cubs may or may not matchup in a deal with the Yankees for Brett Gardner or the Red Sox for Jackie Bradley Jr. Multiple reports have suggested conversations between the Cubs and Yankees and Red Sox have taken place as the front office explores options to fill the need for a centerfielder. And most still think the Cubs and Mets will work out a deal at some point that sends a middle infielder to New York for one of the young arms, but those rumors have not picked up yet this winter.
With reports linking the Cubs to five or six teams as possible trade partners and Jed Hoyer indicating they’ve had discussions with 12-15 clubs, it is pretty clear the winter season has just begun and there are several different unknown directions the front office could go in order to improve the roster.