Baseball’s Winter Meetings officially get started today. And for the next three and a half days, the baseball world will take up a big part of the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
If the last week is any indication it is going to be rather wild at the Winter Meetings this year. Even with the big name free agent pitchers off the board (David Price, Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lackey, Jeff Samardzija, Hisashi Iwakuma), several starters and relievers remain unsigned.
Most are predicting a rather active trade market. And the Cubs are expected to make a deal or two to improve areas the front office would like to address this winter.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would like to acquire one more starting pitcher. The Cubs are believed to exploring trades for a top closer and would like to add depth to the bullpen. Finding a solution for center field is also on the Cubs agenda. The Cubs could fill the void left by Dexter Fowler through a free agent signing or a trade. If the Cubs were to move Jorge Soler in a deal for a young, controllable arm, the front office could turn to Alex Gordon or Jason Heyward to play right field.
As for possible trade chips, Jorge Soler and Javier Baez have been mentioned in countless reports as players the front office could move in a deal for pitching. There have been rumblings in recent days that teams have been asking the Cubs about a couple of their relievers.
Here’s a quick rundown of the players and teams the Cubs have been connected to as the front office explores ways to improve the roster.
The Cubs are expected to trade for a young, controllable starting pitcher. If the Cubs sign another free agent starter it’s highly unlikely it will be a pitcher tied to draft pick compensation or one that requires a long-term commitment.
• Trade Options: Shelby Miller (Braves), Julio Teheran (Braves), Tyson Ross (Padres), Carlos Carrasco (Indians), Danny Salazar (Indians), Drew Smyly (Rays), Matt Moore (Rays), Jake Odorizzi (Rays), Kevin Gausman (Orioles)
• Short-Term Trade Options: Andrew Cashner (Padres), James Shields (Padres)
• Free Agent Options: Scott Kazmir, Mike Leake
Reports have indicated the Cubs are exploring trades for a top closer and the front office would like to add arms to the backend of the bullpen either through trade or free agency.
• Trade Options: Jake McGee (Rays), Brad Boxberger (Rays)
• Free Agent Options: Fernando Rodney, Trevor Cahill
With Dexter Fowler departing via free agency, the Cubs are looking for a short-term solution in center field. And if the centerfielder could hit at the top of Joe Maddon’s lineup that would address two areas with one player.
The Cubs have been connected heavily to free agent Denard Span, but as the week progresses other options could present themselves.
• Free Agent Options: Denard Span, Gerardo Parra, Austin Jackson
• Trade Options: Jake Marisnick (Astros), Brett Gardner (Yankees)
The Winter Meetings conclude Thursday with the Rule 5 Draft. One of the players the Cubs could lose is RHP Corey Black. Theo Epstein has mentioned the Cubs could take a player in the draft.
Day One Updates
• 10:12am CST – The Dodgers acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Reds for two prospects according to Ken Rosenthal. The Dodgers plan to keep Kenley Jansen to build up the backend of the bullpen with price of starting pitching so high. The names of the prospects have not been released.
• 11:05pm CST – The Padres are “drawing significant interest” in Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner and James Shields according to Ken Rosenthal.
• 11:05pm CST – The Cardinals are in on Mike Leake, joining the Giants and Diamondbacks. Leake would take less to play for Arizona according to Rosenthal, but the D-Backs “seem more focused on trading for a lower-end starter than Leake at this point, but it all depends upon price.”
• 11:37am CST – The Mariners are talking to the Red Sox about trading for a starting pitcher according to Ken Rosenthal. The Mariners could be discussing a deal for either Clay Buchholtz or Wade Miley. Rosenthal is not sure at this point.
• 12:58pm CST – The Pirates are meeting with Scott Kazmir’s agents according to a report from Travis Sawchik.
• 1:19pm CST – The Mariners are making progress on a deal with the Red Sox for Wade Miley according to Ken Rosenthal.
• 2:06pm CST – The Mariners have acquired Wade Miley from the Red Sox according to Ken Davidoff. The Red Sox sent Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to Seattle for Roenis Elias and Carson Smith.
• 2:13pm CST – According to Mark Sheldon, the deal to send Aroldis Chapman to the Dodgers is not done. Sheldon reported multiple teams could be involved.
Check back throughout the day. This report will be updated with reliable information from the Winter Meetings. Headline worthy news will receive individual reports. And make sure to follow on Twitter (@TheCCO) for up to the minute news and rumors.