Baseball’s Winter Meetings begin Sunday and officially get underway Monday in National Harbor, just outside of Washington DC. The Meetings run through Thursday and conclude with the Rule 5 Draft.
The Cubs are looking for pitching, both starters and relievers. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are focused on acquiring pitching and exploring all avenues from veterans to young controllable starters with options and minor league depth.
On the closer front, the Cubs have been linked to Kenley Jansen, Greg Holland, Wade Davis, Alex Colome and A.J. Ramos. The starting pitchers the Cubs have been connected to include Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly and Shelby Miller.
It should be an interesting week throughout the game. Time will tell as to how much the Cubs are involved in all of the activity that is expected at the Winter Meetings.
- The Tribune – Cubs expected to shop selectively at the Winter Meetings
- The Sun-Times – Will the Cubs stay quiet or pull off surprise at the Winter Meetings?
- Comcast SportsNet – How the Cubs are setting the expectations for the Winter Meetings
- Carrie Muskat – Cubs Winter Meetings to-do list starts with bullpen
- ESPN – Winter Meetings Shopping Guide
- ESPN – Winter Meetings checklist for all 30 teams
- Hardball Talk – Winter Meetings Preview
The Cubs are expected to be one of the many teams in on RHP Tyson Ross.
The Padres did not offer Ross a contract for next season and made him a free agent on Friday. Reports Saturday pointed to the Cubs being interested in signing Ross based on the conversations the front office had in the past with A.J. Preller about him.
Bruce Levine reported the Cubs and Ross could be a match and to bet on the front office trying to sign him. It will likely take a multi-year contract to land Ross as he recovers from surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in October (Oct. 13). Ross was expected to be ready to pitch in four to six months after surgery which would put him in line for a return as soon as February and as late as April.
The Cubs were close to acquiring Ross from the Padres in July 2015 according to Levine.
Levine reported the possibility of the Cubs getting creative with a deal for Ross in which a multi-year guaranteed contract with option years and incentives could make sense for both the team and the player.
According to Peter Gammons, Ross will be patient and find the right situation for him. Gammons said Ross “is smart and methodical.”
The Cubs, specifically Jason McLeod, knows the Ross family from the time he spent with Tyson’s brother Joe leading up to the 2011 draft.
Tyson Ross would be worth the risk for any team, especially the one that just won The World Series.
Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Mark Melancon
The market for the big three free agent relievers is heating up and it might be Mark Melancon that is the first to come off the board.
According to Ken Rosenthal, Mark Melancon has multiple four-year offers on the table worth more than $60 million. The Giants and Nationals are two of the teams believed to be in on Melancon. There could be a third team, but Rosenthal hasn’t been able to identify them.
The Giants are believed to be the team with the most interest in Melancon. The Giants explored trading for a closer but have focused on one of the three free agent relievers. The Giants have said they will add a closer this off-season.
The Cubs and Rays continue to talk about swapping young, controllable pitching for position players. The Cubs are interested in acquiring Chris Archer and those talks with the Rays have reportedly included Jorge Soler and Ian Happ.
Jerry Crasnick made a bold prediction for the Winter Meetings … Chris Archer traded to the Cubs for a package of players that includes Jorge Soler and other young talent from the system. Crasnick mentioned Happ, Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease as players the Rays could choose from in order to make his deal happen.
Jason Hammel has been linked to the Yankees and Marlins since the Cubs declined the option and he became a free agent. Hammel has been contacted by “about 10 teams” according to Nick Cafardo.
Hammel is expected to sign at least a three-year contract this off-season.
The former Cubs’ catcher and now free agent, Welington Castillo could be off the market soon. Less than 18 hours after the Diamondbacks decided to non-tender him, reports indicated the Rays and Braves are interested in Wely.
According to Marc Topkin, the Rays are expected to “aggressively pursue” Castillo. Another team to keep an eye on for Castillo is the White Sox.
The Sox are in need of backstops and Castillo knows their new manager, Rick Renteria, rather well.
Many in the industry feel the Astros are trying to set themselves up “to pull off a Cubs season” with the additions for veterans Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Josh Reddick this winter. The Astros are still looking for pitching.
With Beltran back in Houston, Edwin Encarnacion is down to the Yankees, Rangers and Blue Jays as his “most likely landing spots” according to Jim Bowden.
According to multiple reports late Saturday, Rich Hill is on the verge of re-signing with the Dodgers.
Peter Gammons broke the news that Hill would be inking a contract with the Dodgers. The Dodgers have been more focused on free agent signings instead of trading for starting pitching according to Ken Rosenthal.
Rich Hill looks to be nearing a deal with the Dodgers for three years in the $40 million range.
News, Notes and Rumors
• The Cubs are one of 12 teams with the prospects to make big moves according to Jim Callis.
• Joel Sherman ranked all 30 teams by desperation on the Eve of the Winter Meetings.
• According to Jon Heyman, the Astros are positioning themselves for a big-time starter. The Astros and Rangers are out on Chris Sale at the current asking price according to Ken Rosenthal. The Braves are very much in the mix for Sale. The Sox are asking a ton for Sale (think Shelby Miller trade and add at least two more top prospects, young controllable impact Major Leaguers) and the Braves have enough to make a deal according to Heyman. But the Braves have yet to meet the Sox asking price.
• The Nationals are still talking to the White Sox about Chris Sale and the Pirates about Andrew McCutchen according to Ken Rosenthal.
• The Rangers are negotiating with Ian Desmond and those talks have “intensified” according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal. If Desmond re-signs with Texas that could eliminate a possible landing spot for Dexter Fowler.
• Marc Topkin reported to expect the Rays to shop pitching depth at the Winter Meetings.
• Jim Bowden provided a breakdown of all 30 MLB front offices.
• Ken Davidoff posted a list of the 10 hottest names as MLB rumors are about to hit a fever pitch.
• Matt Holliday a fit for the Cubs? Nick Cafardo mentioned the Cubs as one of the seven teams in which he could be a fit, the only National League team. Cafardo reported the Red Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, Cubs and Rangers as possibilities. The Red Sox have already talked to Scott Boras about him.
• OF Lane Adams signed a minor league contract with the Braves. Adams spent a little time in the Cubs’ system this past season playing 22 games at Double-A Tennessee and seven games at Triple-A Iowa. With the Smokies, Adams hit .325/.378/.506 with six doubles and three home runs for a .884 OPS. Adams turned 27 in November.
• Casey McGehee will play in Japan next season for the Yomiuri Giants. According to Ken Rosenthal, McGehee inked a one-year contract that includes a club option.
— MLB The Show (@MLBTheShow) December 3, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – Cubs selected Edgar Olmos off waivers from the Mariners
2007 – Cubs traded Omar Infante and Will Ohman to the Braves for Jose Ascanio
2002 – Cubs signed free agent Mike Remlinger
2002 – Cubs traded Chad Hermansen and Todd Hundley to the Dodgers for Eric Karros and Mark Grudzielanek
2001 – Cubs signed free agent Delino Deshields
1997 – Cubs signed free agent Alan Zinter
1995 – Cubs selected Rodney Myers from the Royals in the Rule 5 Draft
1995 – Tigers selected Jon Ratliff from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1993 – Paul Blackburn, born
1984 – Cubs acquired Brian Dayett and Ray Fontenot from the Yankees for Porfi Altamirano, Rich Bordi, Henry Cotto and Ron Hassey
1981 – Jerome Williams, born
1969 – Cubs traded Rich Nye to the Cardinals for Boots Day
1957 – Lee Smith, born
1940 – Cubs acquired Billy Myers from the Reds for Jim Gleeson and Bobby Mattick
1930 – Harvey Kuenn, born