With the Thanksgiving holiday quickly approaching, speculation and rumors are rampant throughout the game. Baseball’s Winter Meetings are two weeks away and many feel there will be a lot of trades as well as a record amount of money committed to a very talented free agent class.
Starlin Castro and Jeff Samardzija have moved to the front of the Cubs rumor mill while questions continue to surface about which direction the front office will go to add starting pitchers to the roster.
Jim Bowden recently took a look at the possible destinations of 10 big-name players he thinks could be traded this off-season. And Bowden has both Starlin Castro and Tyson Ross changing teams this winter.
The Cubs would reportedly like to keep Castro for next season, but would be willing to move him in the right deal for pitching. According to Bowden, three teams could be interested in Castro that have not been linked to him in the past … the Angels, Dodgers and A’s. Bowden did not indicate what the Cubs might look to receive from those three teams. And he also listed the Padres and Mets as possible trade partners for Castro.
Tyson Ross is one of the starting pitchers the Cubs have been connected to for months. Ross fits what the front office is looking for this winter, a young controllable starter that hasn’t reached his full potential yet.
The Cubs are one of several teams interested in trading for Ross. According to Bowden, who lists the Cubs in front of the Red Sox, Dodgers, Astros, Yankees, Blue Jays and Royals as possible destinations for Ross, “A lot of teams think a change of scenery … combined with some different voices … could help Ross develop into a No. 2-type starter for a contending team.”
In Bowden’s report, the former GM and current radio host on MLB Network Radio has the Cubs as possible destinations for Brett Gardner and three late-inning relievers.
The Cubs are looking to improve the bullpen within reason. And Bowden thinks RHP Ken Giles (Phillies), RHP Brad Boxberger (Rays) and RHP Drew Storen (Nationals) could be options for the Cubs on some level. All three relievers are going to have a hefty price tag attached to them and how much the Cubs may or may not be interested in trading high-end talent for a bullpen arm is unclear at this point.
Trevor Cahill pitched well for the Cubs in September and it appears the Cubs would like to re-sign the free agent. Joe Maddon mentioned during an interview on MLB Network Radio last week that he is not sure what the Cubs plans for Cahill, Travis Wood and Clayton Richard are moving forward.
“Those three guys were a big part of our success in the later part of the year,” Maddon said.
According to Patrick Mooney, Cahill “might have priced himself out of Chicago with all that exposure in October.”
After struggling with the Diamondbacks in 2014 and early last season with the Braves before he was released, Cahill found a role in the Cubs’ pen and showed a lot of improvement under Chris Bosio.
Cahill appeared in 11 games in the regular season for the Cubs. He was 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA and 0.77 WHIP. Cahill allowed four runs on eight hits with five walks and 22 strikeouts in 17 innings. During his first taste of pitching in the post-season, Cahill was 1-1 in six games with a 3.38 ERA and 1.31 WHIP.
According to a report from Nick Cafardo, Cahill’s priority is “to be a starting pitcher again, but he would accept a bullpen spot if he doesn’t secure a starting job.”
The Cubs tried to acquire Trevor Cahill for a couple of years but could not make a deal work. It will be interesting to see if they re-sign him. But it would appear, the Cubs will have to sign him to a Major League contract this time around.
One of the newest additions to the roster, RHP Spencer Patton is an Urbana, Ill native. The 27-year old right hander was selected by the Royals in the 27th round of the 2011 draft. Patton was dealt to the Rangers for Jason Frasor in July 2014.
The Cubs picked up Patton from the Rangers on Friday for minor league infielder Frandy Delarosa.
Patton has very good numbers in the minors that includes 12 strikeouts per nine innings this past season in 26 games. Patton has struggled in the majors but has a big arm.
Patton features a four-seam fastball that sits at 93 mph, and an 83 mph slider. Patton “succeeds with deception over stuff and is just effective enough strike thrower to perhaps be a useful middle reliever” according to Baseball America.
Name the team and the mainstream media has likely linked them to Ben Zobrist. The super utility man is drawing a lot of interest, and one of the teams is the Cubs. And Zobrist is believed to have interest in signing with the Cubs.
The Cardinals have also been connected to Zobrist despite the fact with the way St. Louis’ roster is currently constructed he would receive very little playing time at second or third base. According to Ken Rosenthal, Zobrist “ideally wants to play second base and shift between positions as needed.” The Cardinals have Kolten Wong at second and Matt Carpenter at third, plus “their outfield is currently jammed.”
Shelby Miller and Julio Teheran
The Cubs are obviously not the only team that has talked to the Braves about their two right-handed starters. According to a report from the Score citing Nick Cafardo as its source, the Braves have discussed Miller and Teheran with the Giants.
The Braves reportedly asked for Matt Duffy or Joe Panik in return. And the Giants are not interested in trading either player.
If Cafardo’s sources are correct, that gives a pretty good idea how much Atlanta values both right handers.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Cubs have many options available to fortify their rotation substantially according to the Tribune.
• Former Reds and Dodgers outfielder Chris Heisey has reunited with Dusty Baker. Heisey agreed to terms on a minor league deal with the Nationals and will compete for the fourth outfielder’s spot in Spring Training.
• Jordan Zimmermann may be one of the Dodgers’ top targets, but that doesn’t mean Andrew Freidman is not interested in re-signing Zack Greinke according to a report from MLB.com.
• The Cubs’ key decision according to ESPN Chicago, pursue David Price or Jordan Zimmermann?
• Dallas Keuchel has talked to David Price about pitching for the Astros according to a report from the Score citing the Houston Chronicle as its source.
• The Braves, Nationals and Dodgers are considered the leading candidates for Darren O’Day according to Jon Heyman. O’Day could be the first big free agent to sign. The Cubs are reportedly still one of the teams in the mix for O’Day. It’s highly unlikely the Cubs would meet the asking price to sign O’Day, which is believed to be four years and $28-36 million.
• Dave Cameron examined the players he thinks are the bargains of the 2016 free agent class.
• Joel Sherman played detective to find 10 pitchers who fit the Yankees’ wishlist … and Kyle Hendricks checks in at No. 7.
And last, but not least, MLB.com posted the first All-Statcast Team.
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs signed free agent Darnell McDonald
2010 – Cubs signed free agent Bobby Scales
2004 – Cubs signed free agent Glendon Rusch
1999 – Cubs signed free agent Todd Van Poppel
1994 – Cubs selected Bryan Hickerson off waivers from the Giants
1989 – Cubs traded Rich Scheid to the White Sox for Chuck Mount
1954 – Cubs selected Vicente Amor from Oakland (PCL) in the Rule 5 Draft
1954 – Cubs selected Jim King from the Cardinals in the Rule 5 Draft
1934 – Cubs traded Babe Herman, Guy Bush and Jim Weaver to the Pirates for Fred Lindstrom and Larry French.
1926 – Lew Burdette, born