The Cubs are scheduled to have “a bunch of meetings with agents” and talk to a lot of teams before leaving Boca Raton. Meetings were expected to start taking place Tuesday night leading up to the end of the GM Meetings.
According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs were expected to talk to David Price’s agent, Bo McKinnis on Wednesday to gauge his client’s interest in the team. Along with David Price, the Cubs reportedly have meetings scheduled with the agents for Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann and Jeff Samardzija. And the Sun-Times reported that Greinke could overtake Price as the Cubs’ top target.
There is a lot of activity and discussions between teams at the GM Meetings based on multiple reports. This year’s meetings have been described as being closer to the Winter Meetings than ever before.
From all indications there is mutual interest in a reunion with Jeff Samardzija. Whether it will happen or not is obviously unknown at this point.
The Cubs had a meeting scheduled with Samardzija’s new agent, the Wasserman Group. Samardzija is no longer represented by Mark Rodgers.
There is a lot of buzz surrounding Samardzija possibly returning to the Cubs but several teams, including the Giants, Yankees and Blue Jays, have been linked to him.
Samardzija could receive from a team this off-season the five-year and $70-90 million contract the Cubs tried to give him, even though he is reportedly willing to sign a one-year contract in order to rebuild his value.
The Cubs have been connected to Alex Gordon pretty heavily over the last several weeks. And the Cubs are still one of several teams interested in the veteran outfielder.
According to Jerry Crasnick, there “is a lot of early Cubs, Orioles and Astros chatter” on Gordon at the GM Meetings. Crasnick reported the Royals are “privately more optimistic about keeping Ben Zobrist” than either Gordon or Johnny Cueto.
According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs have some interest in bringing back Fernando Rodney.
Rodney was picked up off waivers from the Mariners and did a solid job with the Cubs over the last month of the regular season. Rodney served up a home run to Daniel Murphy in the NLCS and pitched in two games in the post-season.
In 14 games with the Cubs, Rodney was 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 3.47 FIP. Rodney allowed four runs, one earned, on eight hits with four walks and 15 strikeouts in 12 innings.
The Cubs tried to acquire Trevor Cahill prior to last season. The front office landed Cahill with a minor league contract and he pitched rather well out of the bullpen. Reports have suggested the Cubs would be interested in re-signing him.
Cahill changed his mechanics and his velocity increased with the move to the bullpen. His changeup saw a strikeout rate jump from 14.8 percent with the Braves to 32.5 percent with the Cubs.
In 11 games with the Cubs, Cahill was 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and 3.13 FIP. Cahill allowed four runs on eight hits with five walks and 22 strikeouts in 17 innings. Cahill turns 28 in March.
Darren O’Day is considered the top reliever on the free agent market. O’Day is a setup man that could close games. And the Cubs are one of six teams in pursuit of O’Day. According to Jon Heyman, the Red Sox, Nationals, Tigers, Dodgers, Cubs and Royals are interested in O’Day … plus the Orioles would like to re-sign him.
Buster Olney indicated Tuesday the market for O’Day is “moving quickly” and that he has “offers in hand and will be talking with managers in the week ahead.”
According to Jerry Crasnick, the Dodgers are “showing significant interest” in O’Day. And some executives think O’Day will sign for “well north” of the three-year, $18 million contract Luke Gregerson received from the Astros last winter.
Johnny Cueto does not appear to be an option for the Cubs. Patrick Mooney reported “they don’t have the right-hander very high on their list after an inconsistent performance with the Kansas City Royals during their World Series run.”
The Sun-Times indicated the Cubs “plan to kick the tires” on Cueto but due to the long list of concerns “it could be a short courtship.”
The Royals unwillingness to pitch Cueto on the road after the debacle in Toronto has led many to question if he can handle the pressures of pitching in a big market on a team with expectations. Plus, the endless excuses for his inconsistent and often poor performance with the Royals has teams doubting he is worth taking a gamble on, especially with the questions that remain about his health.
Rumors and More Rumors
• Jon Paul Morosi reported free agent Craig Breslow “is being marketed as a starting pitcher.” The Cubs were deep in discussions with Breslow last year on a contract before he decided to return to Boston.
• The Cubs are looking for outfield help at the GM Meetings according to Bruce Levine.
• According to Michael Silverman, the Royals “have some interest in” free agent outfielders Denard Span and Travis Snider.
• Jim Duquette posted his free agent predictions. Duquette has David Price signing with the Red Sox, Zack Greinke signing with the Giants, Jason Heyward back with the Cardinals and Jordan Zimmermann signing with the Cubs on a deal similar to Jon Lester’s six years and $155 million. Duquette thinks Alex Gordon goes back to Kansas City, Jeff Samardzija inks a deal with the Blue Jays, Ben Zobrist lands with the Dodgers, Dexter Fowler to the Tigers and John Lackey returns to the Cardinals.
• The Yankees and Mariners have engaged in talks about Brett Gardner according to Joel Sherman.
• Joel Sherman reported the Giants are expected to shop for baseball’s top free agents.