Prior to Peter Gammons’ report it had been two weeks since the Cubs were connected to Alex Gordon. Gammons said that after sifting “through five days of calls and there is a lot of John Lackey and Alex Gordon to the Cubs speculation.”
Peter Gammons confirmed reports the Cubs were interested in Gordon almost a month ago. But the Gordon rumors had gone away while the mainstream media tried to figure out which way the front office would go to add starting pitchers to the roster.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer said two of the areas the front office would like to address this winter are outfield defense and the team as a whole cutting down on strikeouts. Gordon would immediately improve the Cubs’ outfield defense. And offensively, Gordon would add a veteran to Joe Maddon’s lineup that works at bats and makes contact.
Gordon is attached to draft pick compensation after rejecting the Royals’ qualifying offer. Jim Bowden’s latest prediction has Gordon signing for five years and $90 million, an $18 million AAV.
As is the case with Ben Zobrist, if the Cubs were to sign Alex Gordon it would point to a trade being in the works for a starting pitcher with the front office using position player depth to address the rotation.
It’s been reported the Cubs are one of seven teams interested in signing the veteran right-hander. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Red Sox, Dodgers and Giants have all checked in with John Lackey.
Peter Gammons continues to hear a lot of speculation about the Cubs signing Lackey.
David Kaplan reported earlier in the week that the Cubs like Lackey on a two-year deal but not likely on a three-year contract it might take to sign him. Lackey turned down the Cardinals’ qualifying offer and will cost a team its’ first available draft pick. Lackey should receive quite a bit more than the two-year, $30 million that Jim Bowden predicted he would sign this winter thanks to J.A. Happ.
LHP J.A. Happ turned 11 very good starts with the Pirates at the end of last season into a three-year contract with the Blue Jays.
Toronto announced Friday night the team signed J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36 million contract. Happ was a combined 11-8 in 32 games, 31 starts, for the Mariners and Pirates last season with a 3.61 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. Happ was 7-2 with a 1.85 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with Pittsburgh. Happ had his best stretch as a big leaguer. In 63 1/3 innings, Happ allowed 13 runs on 52 hits with 13 walks and 69 strikeouts. His only two losses in a Pirates uniform came against the Cubs (Aug. 4, Sept. 15).
Happ spent two and half seasons with the Blue Jays before Toronto dealt him to Seattle last December for Michael Saunders.
Reports suggested the Cubs were looking at Happ as an option for the backend of the rotation.
Soon after the Jays announced the three-year contract with Happ, Jon Paul Morosi reported that David Price would not return to Toronto because Happ is “their longest-term rotation investment of the winter.” And Shi Davidi indicated with Happ and the Jays’ payroll around $130 million “if they tender all 10 arbitration eligible players” there is not much money left for Toronto to sign any more players this winter.
The cost of free agent pitching and what it will cost, in terms of players, for teams to acquire starting pitching this winter increased with J.A. Happ signing a three-year, $36 million contract.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Jim Duquette posted five deals he would like to see teams make. And one of the five involved the Cubs and Braves. Duquette thinks a good trade for both teams would be for the Cubs to send Willson Contreras and Billy McKinney to Atlanta for Shelby Miller.
• Gerardo Parra is a possibility for Baltimore according to Hardball Talk as the Orioles continue searching everywhere for help in the outfield.
• Jacque Jones talked to the Washington Post about joining the Nationals as the team’s assistant hitting coach.
• The Indians signed one-time Cubs’ catcher Anthony Recker to a minor league contract that includes a non-roster invite to Spring Training.
• RHP Justin Masterson “is a good buy-low starting pitching candidate” according to Jon Heyman. Masterson had his shoulder cleaned up and is expected to be 100 percent healthy by Spring Training. The Cubs have not been mentioned as a possible destination for Masterson this off-season, but he was connected heavily to the Cubs the last two winters.
This Day In Cubstory
1984 – Cubs signed free agent Dennis Eckersley
1983 – Carlos Villanueva, born
1967 – Cubs selected Jose Arcia from the Cardinals in the Rule 5 Draft
1967 – Cubs selected Ramon Hernandez from the Braves in the Rule 5 Draft
1967 – Cubs selected Bill Plummer from the Cardinals in the Rule 5 Draft
1966 – Cubs selected Joe Campbell from the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft
1962 – Cubs acquired Steve Boros from the Tigers for Bob Anderson
1960 – Cubs selected Cuno Barragan from the Braves in the Rule 5 Draft
1960 – Giants selected John Goetz from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1960 – Cubs selected Phil Murdock from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft
1960 – Cubs selected Elder White from the Pirates in the Rule 5 Draft
1955 – Cubs acquired Hobie Landrith from the Redlegs (Reds) for Hal Jeffcoat
1927 – Cubs traded Sparky Adams and Floyd Scott to the Pirates for Kiki Cuyler
1918 – Russ Meers, born