News surfaced late Sunday that the Cubs were talking to the Rays about pitching, both relievers and starters. The first name that popped up was LHP Jake McGee and right-handed reliever Brad Boxberger was quickly added to the reports.
Marc Topkin provided the biggest update on the talks between the two teams early Monday morning. Javier Baez is the Rays top target in the talks with the Cubs. And the conversations have also included four of the Rays starting pitchers: LHP Drew Smyly, LHP Matt Moore, RHP Jake Odorizzi and RHP Erasmo Ramirez.
According to Mark Gonzales “there is a potential fit with the Cubs’ young hitters and Rays’ pitchers” and a source confirmed to the Tribune “the Cubs and Rays have discussed personnel that could eventually satisfy the needs of both their teams.”
The Rays are focused on Javier Baez and based on the report from the Tribune, Matt Moore and Jake McGee might be the two pitchers that intrigue the Cubs the most.
Matt Moore missed a majority of the 2014 season with Tommy John surgery and made only 12 starts this past season as he recovered from the procedure. Moore was 3-4 in 12 starts with a 5.43 ERA and 1.54 WHIP. Moore was very good over his last six starts, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.97 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Moore allowed 14 runs, 12 earned, on 32 hits with 10 walks and 29 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings.
Moore is under contract through the 2016 season. The extension the 26-year old Moore signed in December 2011 has three club options for 2017-19. Moore is scheduled to make $5 million next year. The club option for 2017 is for $7 million with a $2.5 million buyout. Moore’s contract calls for a $9 million salary in 2018 and $10 million in 2019. The buyout on the 2018 club option is $1 million and the buyout on the 2019 option is $750,000.
ESPN Chicago reported late Sunday that Kevin Gausman has been added to the list of young, controllable arms the Cubs have inquired about this off-season. In doing his research about the Cubs interest in free agent lefty Wei-Yin Chen, Jesse Rogers found out the Cubs had checked with the Orioles about Gausman.
Gausman turns 24 in January and the right-hander is not eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season. The Orioles first round pick in the 2012 draft has not pitched to the team’s expectations. The Orioles keep shuffling him back and forth between majors and minors and between the rotation and bullpen.
Kevin Gausman was 4-7 this past season in 25 appearances, 17 starts, with a 4.25 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Gausman allowed 56 runs, 53 earned, on 109 hits with 103 strikeouts and 29 walks in 112 1/3 innings. Over three levels in the Orioles system last year, Gausman was 0-2 in six starts with a 2.82 ERA and 0.98 WHIP.
Jed Hoyer said the Cubs discussed trades with 12-15 teams during the GM Meetings. Until Sunday night the reports focused on the Braves, Padres and Indians. Before the Winter Meetings officially started two teams and seven pitchers were added to list of options the Cubs are exploring to improve the pitching staff.