According to a report Sunday from the Tribune, the front office’s priority remains to acquire young pitching. Mark Gonzales explained “the Rays remain an attractive target and a potential match with the Cubs’ young position players.”
Gonzales’ report came on the heels of Matt Silverman acknowledging on MLB Network Radio that the Rays and Cubs have discussed deals this winter. Silverman, the Rays’ President of Baseball Operations, said he has talked to multiple teams this off-season, but the conversations with the Cubs were more targeted. Silverman would not comment on how close he was to making a deal with the Cubs, or any team, but he did say he wouldn’t be surprised if something lined up over the next couple of years with the Cubs.
The Rays appeared to be focused on Javier Baez in the talks with the Cubs around the Winter Meetings. It’s believed the Rays also like Jorge Soler and it would take either Baez or Soler in a package from the Cubs for one of the Rays starting pitchers.
The Cubs have been linked heavily to Jake Odorizzi, Matt Moore and Alex Cobb, as well as reliever Jake McGee. Reports have also indicated the Cubs and Rays have talked about deals that could also include Drew Smyly, Erasmo Ramirez and Brad Boxberger. Based on the reports, the Cubs appear to have more interest in Odorizzi, Moore, Cobb and McGee than the Rays other two starters and reliever.
Chris Antonetti said last week the Indians were done making big moves this winter. But the Indians would like to upgrade their offense with a controllable position player and one that plays a corner outfield spot. The Indians have long coveted Jorge Soler. And the Cubs have been talking to the Indians about Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar since at least last June.
The Padres have been exploring ways to acquire a long-term shortstop since A.J. Preller took over in San Diego. The Padres reportedly had interest in Starlin Castro last year, then Javier Baez. The Padres could be closing in on a deal with Ian Desmond, which would take them out of the market for a shortstop. It’s unclear the direction Preller is taking the organization much less Tyson Ross’ future with the team. Reports have suggested he could either be traded or signed to a long-term extension.
The Cubs have also been linked to Andrew Cashner, but it is hard to see any team paying top dollar for the oft-injured Cashner especially coming off the year he had.
“There are still a number of weeks left in the off-season,” Matt Silverman said on MLB Network Radio. “Things are pretty active right now I think within the industry, especially with all of the free agents that are still out there. I wouldn’t be surprised if something materializes but I’m not talking about any specific club, just in general with trades.”
Most are expecting a lot of activity throughout the game over the next few weeks. With just over a month before players have to start reporting to camps in Arizona and Florida, there should be a lot of free agents signing new deals. And it appears several trades could also be completed.
Stay Tuned …