The Cubs focus is on acquiring pitching, pitching and more pitching this winter. The front office has not hid the fact the plan is to add as much pitching as possible this winter.
The top free agent starters have all been connected to the Cubs but it will take more than spending money to add depth to a rather thin pitching staff.
Ken Rosenthal reported “the Cubs do not intend to move third baseman Kris Bryant, shortstop Addison Russell or left fielder Kyle Schwarber, but will at least explore the trade interest they are getting in right fielder Jorge Soler and infielder Javier Baez.”
The Cubs realize that in order to improve the pitching staff they will likely have to trade from the strength of the organization which is the young power bats. And both Soler and Baez have more value than Starlin Castro right now.
The Indians and Braves have been constantly linked to Soler since July. And the Padres and Mets are the two teams most often connected to Baez.
Rumors will only increase for the next three weeks leading up to the Winter Meetings and likely add teams to the list that have talked to the Cubs about the two young sluggers.
Without going into specifics, Jed Hoyer said the Cubs had pretty serious trade talks with 12-15 teams during the GM Meetings as the front office explores ways to improve the roster this winter.
The market for David Price has been rather consistent for several weeks. Most of the experts think Price will sign with one of five teams and the Cubs are still viewed as the frontrunner to ink the lefty to a long-term contract. The Red Sox, Giants, Cardinals and Dodgers are believed to be the other four teams most likely to land Price at some point over the next month.
Price has strong ties to three of the five teams. The Dodgers’ Andrew Friedman was his GM during his days with the Rays. Dave Dombrowski traded for Price in Detroit and the Cubs have the connection with Joe Maddon.
The Red Sox answered their questions in the bullpen with the acquisition of Craig Kimbrel and will focus on adding a No. 1 starting pitcher through free agency. It is believed Dombrowski has been given the approval to spend what he has to in order to land a top of the rotation starter. Dombrowski “is quite fond of Price” and is focused on signing the lefty.
Ken Rosenthal reported that Price “is thought to prefer the Cubs.” Rosenthal explained, “Price, for a variety of reasons stemming from his time with the Rays, probably does not consider the Red Sox his first choice. But if the Sox outbid the Cubs by say, $30 million, hello Boston.” The bidding for David Price could exceed $210 million over seven years.
It would be easy to say Price will likely have to choose from the Cubs and Red Sox, but with the Cardinals, Giants and Dodgers all involved this is more than a two-team race for the southpaw.
The Cubs have been connected to RHP Tyson Ross for the better part of the calendar year. The Cubs would like to acquire controllable starting pitching. Multiple reports indicated the front office attempted to pry Ross from the Padres leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline last July. But A.J. Preller decided to stick with the roster he built for the remainder of the season.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Padres are shopping Tyson Ross and would be willing to move him in the right deal. Rosenthal wonders if Preller could attach Ross to Matt Kemp, who is also being shopped, in order to get Kemp off the books and out of San Diego.
Ross turns 29 in April and is under team control for two more seasons. And Ross is coming off back-to-back good years with the Padres.
Tyson Ross was 10-12 in 33 starts this past season with a 3.26 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 2.98 FIP. Ross struck out 212 batters in 196 innings with 84 walks and 172 hits allowed. On the road, Ross was 6-3 in 17 starts with a 2.83 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.
News, Notes and Rumors
• The Astros, Tigers, Dodgers, Nationals and Diamondbacks are among the teams that have expressed interest in Rays’ relievers RHP Brad Boxberger and LHP Jake McGee. The Rays are not motivated to move either one of the pitchers according to Marc Topkin. The Rays are also open to dealing LHP Drew Smyly and/or LHP Matt Moore.
• RHP Michael Bowden signed with the Doosan Bears of the KBO according to a report from Joon Lee.
• The Braves are shopping RHP Julio Teheran according to Ken Rosenthal.
• Veteran lefty Mark Buehrle will either pitch for the Cardinals or retire according to a report from Hardball Talk citing Bob Elliott as its source. Buehrle is from the St. Louis area and has always wanted to pitch for Cardinals. The Redbirds need pitching and could turn to the former White Sox southpaw.
• The Mets have reached out to Ben Zobrist according to a report from the New York Post. The Mets are very interested in signing Zobrist and have talked to his agent, Alan Nero. The Yankees will not be among the teams in the mix for Zobrist. The Yankees do not want to spent the money that will be required to sign him.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Cubs acquired Tommy La Stella from the Braves for Arodys Vizcaino
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Dioner Navarro
2010 – Cubs signed free agent Scott Moore
2009 – Cubs granted free agency to John Grabow
2006 – Cubs acquired Neal Cotts from the White Sox for Carlos Vasquez and David Aardsma
2005 – Cubs traded Jon Leicester to the Rangers for Clint Brannon
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Julian Tavarez to a two-year contract
1994 – Cubs released Randy Veres
1968 – Chris Haney, born
1957 – Cubs traded Casey Wise to the Milwaukee Braves for Leonard Williams, Ben Johnson, Chick King and cash
1954 – Cubs traded Ralph Kiner to the Indians for Sam Jones, Gale Wade and $60,000
1950 – Cubs selected Jack Cusick from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft
1950 – Indians selected Lou Klein from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1950 – Cubs selected Turk Lown from the Dodgers in the Rule 5 Draft
1950 – Yankees selected Bob Muncrief from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft