Jeff Samardzija would reportedly like to return to the Cubs. Chris Bosio would love to have him back. Samardzija met with Theo Epstein last week. And according to Bruce Levine, Samardzija would be “willing to return to his original organization if the deal is right for both sides.”
Samardzija is drawing interest from several teams. The Cubs, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Giants and Blue Jays are among the teams that have been linked to Samardzija.
Samardzija is likely looking at a four-year deal in the $60-75 million range. Jim Bowden predicted four years and $62 million, which is a $15.5 AAV. Levine reported a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year “would seem like a logical starting point” for negotiations.
Mike DiGiovanna has heard at least 11 teams “have shown considerable interest” in Ben Zobrist. The Angels and Dodgers are not among the 11 teams.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Nationals are looking for a left-handed hitting infielder and a left-handed hitting outfielder. Zobrist could fill both needs and is a long-time “target” of the Nationals. Rosenthal explained the Nationals are one of many teams interested in Zobrist. The switch-hitting, super utility man would fit on most rosters.
The Nationals and Mets could end up making the highest bids for Zobrist. Rosenthal passed on information from Tom Verducci that indicated the NL East rivals are willing to pay the most for Zobrist’s services.
The Cubs are believed to be interested in Zobrist, and he would reportedly like to play for Joe Maddon’s Cubs. There might not be a fit with the Cubs and Zobrist with the way the roster is currently constructed. If the Cubs deal an infielder, or two, for pitching, that could open a spot for Zobrist.
The Cubs are now one of seven teams known to be interested in John Lackey. Last week, Ken Rosenthal reported the Cubs were one of six teams that have at least checked in with the veteran free agent. At the time, the Cubs, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Red Sox and Dodgers were the six teams that had expressed interest in Lackey.
According to Rosenthal, the Giants are also interested in Lackey. San Francisco is looking for pitching and is “examining a wide range of options.”
David Kaplan reported Monday the Cubs like Lackey on a two-year contract but it will likely take a three-year deal to sign him. On a two-year contract, Lackey could get $30 million according to Jim Bowden.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Former Cubs’ catcher and NL Rookie of the Year, Geovany Soto signed a one-year deal with the Angels. Soto will be paid $2.8 million next season and compete with Carlos Perez for the starting catcher’s job in Spring Training.
• The Red Sox “do not have any free agent visits scheduled” according to Rob Bradford.
• Buster Olney ranked the top 10 relievers in baseball: Wade Davis, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton, Jeurys Familia, Ken Giles and Brad Ziegler.
• Tim Lincecum is recovering well from September hip surgery. Unless he signs with a team before, Lincecum has a showcase planned for January to prove to teams he is healthy according to a report from Jeff Passan. Lincecum believes with the pain gone in his hip “he can regain at least some of the missing six mph in fastball velocity from his peak.”
• According to Ken Rosenthal, teams are calling the Padres about OF Manuel Margot. The Padres acquired Margot from the Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel deal. Rosenthal said A.J. Preller would only “move him for player (s) with similar upside.” Preller is “open to anything,” however, one source told Rosenthal it is “unlikely” he trades Margot and said the odds of a trade happening are “80-20 against.”
• The Angels made it official Tuesday that Bud Black is joining the team’s front office. Black is a special assistant to the general manager, Billy Eppler. And former Cub, Bobby Scales has a new position in the Angels organization. Scales is also a special assistant to the GM.
• RHP Chris Volstad and C Ryan Lavarnway were among 10 players the Braves announced the team signed to minor league contracts with Spring Training invites.
• As of late Tuesday, the Marlins and Mariners were working a deal that would send OF Marcell Ozuna to Seattle. The Marlins are looking for a young starter for Ozuna according to Jerry Crasnick. The Marlins could be asked about LHP Roenis Ellis or RHP Nate Karns for Ozuna according to Clark Spencer and Jon Heyman.
• Mark Feinsand reported it’s unlikely the Yankees will seek help at second base this winter and will stick with Rob Refsnyder and Dustin Ackley. Feinsand broke the story, that he later changed, about the Yankees and Cubs discussing a Starlin Castro for Brett Gardner trade.
• The Yankees are willing to trade Ivan Nova according to Joel Sherman, but there’s a catch.
And last, but not least, according to a report from Buster Olney, some evaluators he talked to about David Price “are convinced that he’s indicating to all clubs that he’s like to play for them.” Olney thinks that’s a smart move if true.
This Day In Cubstory
2003 – Cubs traded Hee-Seop Choi and Mike Nannini to the Marlins for Derrek Lee
1998 – Cubs granted free agency to Don Wengert
1968 – Shingo Takatsu, born
1965 – Randy Veres, born
1958 – Chico Walker, born