The Cubs and Rays could eventually matchup on a deal. Jed Hoyer and Matt Silverman feel there could be a trade at some point between the two organizations. But a deal might not take place any time soon, much less before Spring Training.
The Cubs have young, controllable position players the Rays lack and Tampa’s young, controllable pitching would help fill holes for the Cubs while they continue to develop pitching in the system.
One of the pitchers the Cubs have been linked to rather heavily this off-season was shipped Thursday to the Rockies. Silverman acquired OF Corey Dickerson and 3B Kevin Padlo for lefty reliever Jake McGee and minor league right-hander German Marquez.
Multiple reports since December have suggested the Cubs preferred Jake McGee and Jake Odorizzi in talks with the Rays over Alex Cobb, Matt Moore, Drew Smyly, Brad Boxberger and Erasmo Ramirez. Reports have also indicated the Rays like Javier Baez more than Jorge Soler. And any deal with the Cubs would likely have to have Baez headlining a package for pitching.
Jake Odorizzi is not arbitration eligible until next off-season. Odorizzi turns 26 in late March (March 27) and has four years of club control before he would be a free agent following the 2019 season.
Odorizzi was 9-9 in 28 starts last season with a 3.35 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 3.61 FIP. Odorizzi gave up 65 runs, 63 earned, on 149 hits with 46 walks and 150 strikeouts in 169 1/3 innings. Odorizzi is 9-13 in 33 games, 32 starts, outside of Tampa in his big league career with a 4.74 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.
The Cubs have also been connected to the Padres (Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner) and Indians (Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar) in possible deals for pitching. The Padres, like the Rays and Indians, have been linked to both Javier Baez and Jorge Soler.
A.J. Preller solved his short-term need at shortstop by signing Alexei Ramirez and Javier Guerra is viewed as San Diego’s shortstop of the future.
The Indians have coveted Soler for years. And they appeared to prefer Soler in talks with the Cubs over Baez, which would make sense with Jason Kipnis at second base and Francisco Lindor at shortstop on a daily basis for the foreseeable future. The Indians are reportedly not looking to trade any of their pitchers before the season.
Jim Bowden thinks the Cubs and Rays could matchup on a deal in-season once Alex Cobb shows he’s healthy. Cobb is not due back until at least late July as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. The Cubs might be interested in Cobb, but if he cannot show he’s healthy before Aug. 1 it is highly unlikely a deal between the Cubs and Rays involving Cobb will be made in-season. The players that would have to be included would not clear waivers.
Stay tuned … Information changes consistently throughout the winter. That’s what makes the rumor season so interesting.