Results tagged ‘ cubs ’

Epstein: No rush to make moves

The Trade Deadline is approaching, but Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein says he is not frantically trying to make changes to the roster.

“We’re not in a rush to make moves,” Epstein said Wednesday.

The Cubs made their splash on July 4 when they dealt Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A’s. Epstein said they are evaluating the current roster to determine who they’d like to keep, who can help the team going forward, and what they can do on the field with the next generation coming up.

“There’s value to keeping players who have roles here for the sake of continuity and leadership and performance on the field,” Epstein said. “We’re not in any rush to make trades for the sake of making trades.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/22 Cubs GM expects more calls

The Cubs have already dealt two-fifths of their rotation, and on Tuesday, designated second baseman Darwin Barney for assignment. GM Jed Hoyer expects more movement before the Trade Deadline.

“We’ve gotten a lot of calls on guys,” Hoyer said Tuesday. “Call traffic, if you will, picks up over the next week or so. I expect we’ll be on the phone a lot. Not sure if we’ll make any moves but we’ll be active looking to better the team.”

The Cubs have gotten interest from teams in some of their relievers, including lefties James Russell and Wesley Wright and right-hander Carlos Villanueva.

They aren’t afraid to make moves. One year ago on July 22, the Cubs traded Matt Garza to the Rangers for Mike Olt, Justin Grimm, Neil Ramirez, and C.J. Edwards. Olt, Grimm and Ramirez are currently on the big league roster. Edwards is a top pitching prospect.

– Carrie Muskat

Cubs not ready to pay for Price

At the All-Star Game, Tampa’s David Price said Chicago “would be the coolest city to win a championship in right now.” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer feel the same way, which is what enticed them to join the Cubs.

On Monday, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal wrote that the Cubs should pursue Price and deal some of the team’s top prospects for the pitcher. The Cubs do need starting pitching, but they are not contenders this year, and most likely not in 2015 either. How does Hoyer feel about the rumors?

“I don’t really pay attention,” Hoyer said Monday in a radio interview on The Game 87.7. “There are going to be a lot of rumors about our players and our acquiring good players because of the good talent we have in the Minors. I think we’ll be lumped into the rumors. We just sort of ignore them.”

The Cubs got a jump on the market by dealing Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel on July 4 to the Athletics for a package of prospects, including talented shortstop Addison Russell, who hit two home runs Sunday, including a grand slam, and finished with six RBIs at Double-A Tennessee.

The Cubs do have depth at middle infield in the Minor League system. But there also are no guarantees as to how the prospects will develop, and when they’ll be ready. Hoyer would not comment directly on the Price talk; it’s the Cubs’ policy not to discuss other teams’ players.

– Carrie Muskat

Starlin Castro rumors

The Cubs have plenty of depth as far as middle infielders go, and fans often ask what the team is going to do with all of them. According to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi, other teams are inquiring as well. Morosi said the Cubs’ Starlin Castro has drawn some trade interest. But Morosi says sources tell him the Cubs do not plan on moving the shortstop before the Trade Deadline. Castro is in the second year of a seven-year, $60 million contract with the Cubs. Javier Baez did move from shortstop to second base on Thursday for Triple-A Iowa, and was expected to play there a little more regularly, according to manager Marty Pevey. The Cubs also have talented infielder Arismendy Alcantara, and acquired shortstop Addison Russell in the trade with the Athletics. As of today, Castro is the starting shortstop.

“The nice thing about having impact players who are athletic and can play in the middle of the field and can hit is that you have options,” Theo Epstein said when the Cubs acquired Russell. “You can never have too many shortstops. If you look around baseball, you see some of the best outfielders in the game came up as shortstops, some of the best third basemen in the game came up as shortstops, some of the best second basemen in the game came up as shortstops. Heck, some of the best first basemen in the game came up as shortstops.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/8 A’s wanted Cubs’ Valbuena, too

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Athletics tried to get the Cubs to include Luis Valbuena in the deal that eventually netted Oakland both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. The A’s wanted Valbuena as a potential upgrade at second base. But Rosenthal says the Cubs are reluctant to trade him because he’s controlled through 2016. Valbuena is earning $1.7 million this season.

Valbuena has a slash line of .256/.339/.420, and has hit five home runs with 22 RBIs. He’s started 44 games at third, 17 at second.

– Carrie Muskat

Mets, Cubs and the shortstop deal just waiting to be made

When the Cubs traded Jeff Samardzija last week in a deal that landed them shortstop prospect Addison Russell, they were left with a glut of high-ceiling shortstops in their organization. Russell and Javier Baez are both uber-prospects blocked by current starter Starlin Castro.

Enter the Mets, who spent most of the offseason fruitlessly searching for a shortstop to replace incumbent Ruben Tejada. General manager Sandy Alderson balked at signing Jhonny Peralta, passed on multiple chances to ink Stephen Drew, and never delved too deep in trade discussions for Arizona’s Didi Gregorius or Seattle’s Nick Franklin or Chris Owings.

The Mets, meanwhile, converted Wilmer Flores to shortstop, where he is currently raking at Triple-A Las Vegas, then watched Flores’ success spark some semblance of a renaissance in Tejada. So their need at the position is not as great as it once was.

Yet neither Tejada nor Flores is a guarantee, and acquiring a shortstop of Castro’s caliber would allow the Mets to deal second baseman Daniel Murphy before he becomes a free agent after next season. It makes sense on multiple levels for the Mets to pursue Castro, provided they can stomach giving up young pitching to do it.

The Daily News’ John Harper estimated that the Cubs would ask for a package of Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom, or something similar, which would almost assuredly make Alderson balk. Most likely, the Mets could center a deal around their own top prospect, Noah Syndergaard, who is struggling at Las Vegas but still boasts an immense ceiling.

What’s clear is that the Mets and Cubs are ideal trade partners on paper leading up to the deadline. Whether they can consummate a deal will go a long way toward understanding the mindsets of both.

–Anthony DiComo

2/13 Roundup

Several teams followed the lead of the Dodgers and D-backs and officially opened Spring Training for pitchers and catchers on Thursday. The rest will follow between Friday and Monday.

But that doesn’t mean the Hot Stove has been switched off, with a handful of free agents still available and some clubs continuing to look for ways to improve via trade. The Nationals, for instance, found a strong backup for catcher Wilson Ramos on Thursday, acquiring switch hitter Jose Lobaton and two prospects from the Rays for young right-hander Nathan Karns.

In other news from around the league:

  • The Indians announced their four-year, $25 million extension with outfielder Michael Brantley. The deal buys out his arbitration eligibility and includes a fifth-year option.
  • The Orioles have agreed to a three-year contract with South Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon, pending a physical, a source told MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli. However, physicals have led Baltimore to void two other deals this offseason. Yoon could fit as a starter or a reliever with the O’s.
  • Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said his team isn’t likely to spend more this offseason, meaning free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew won’t be coming to Queens.
  • Cuban free-agents Aledmys Diaz and Odrisamer Despaigne worked out for Major League scouts during a showcase in Arizona. Diaz, an infielder, and Despaigne, a right-handed pitcher, both hope to sign with a team by the end of the month.
  • The Mariners officially signed free-agent closer Fernando Rodney to a two-year contract and inked veteran lefty Randy Wolf to a Minor League deal. They also placed outfielder Franklin Gutierrez on the restricted list after he informed them that he will miss the season with a chronic gastrointestinal issue.
  • The Cubs officially reached deals with free-agent righties Jason Hammel and James McDonald, on the same day they revealed Jake Arrieta has been dealing with shoulder tightness that will push him behind schedule.
  • The Phillies released veteran righty Chad Gaudin after he failed a physical. The two sides had agreed to a Minor League contract in January.
  • The Rays are likely to sign free-agent lefty Erik Bedard, according to multiple reports. The 34-year-old went 4-12 with a 4.59 ERA in 32 games, including 26 starts, for the Astros last season.

– Andrew Simon

Maholm with the Dodgers?

Lefty Paul Maholm has apparently landed with the Dodgers as multiple reports out of the team’s Spring Training camp — including from MLB.com‘s Ken Gurnick — have him spotted there, and with a locker in the clubhouse. 

Maholm, 31, was a free agent this winter after going 10-11 with a 4.41 ERA in Atlanta last season. The majority of his nine-year career came in Pittsburgh, along with stints with the Cubs and Braves.

He is 76-95 in his career with a 4.28 ERA and 1.39 WHIP.

– Joey Nowak

2/6 Roundup

The Hot Stove saw a flurry of activity involving relievers on Thursday, most notably closer Fernando Rodney reportedly agreeing to a two-year contract with the Mariners worth at least $14 million.

Rodney was the top bullpen arm on the market entering Thursday. Over the past two seasons with the Rays, he collected 85 saves and posted a 1.91 ERA. Seattle has not confirmed the deal, which won’t be official until he passes a physical.

Meanwhile, the Marlins and Carlos Marmol reached an agreement on a one-year contract worth $1.25 million. A former All-Star closer with the Cubs, Marmol transitioned to a middle relief role last season after being traded to the Dodgers. The veteran is expected to compete for a setup role this year. Miami added further depth to its bullpen in Chaz Roe, who agreed to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

The Cardinals were also in on the action, signing veteran Pat Neshek to a Minor League deal with an invitation to big league camp.

In other news from around the league:

• Despite interest from at least a dozen teams, the Nationals are in no rush to trade second baseman Danny Espinosa, writes MLB.com’s Bill Ladson. Although he’s coming off a down year, Washington still has faith in Espinosa and will give him every chance to make the club this season.

• The D-backs inked outfielder Mark Trumbo to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration.

• The Cubs and second baseman Darwin Barney won’t be going to arbitration after agreeing to a one-year contract. The deal leaves right-handed starter Jeff Samardzija as Chicago’s only arbitration eligible player.

• Catcher Matt Wieters and the Orioles also avoided arbitration by coming to terms on a one-year deal.

• Infielder Brett Wallace was designated for assignment by the Astros in a move to open a roster spot for pitcher Jerome Williams, who agreed to a one-year pact earlier this week. Houston has 10 days to trade Wallace, outright him to the Minor Leagues or release him.

• Tampa Bay signed five players to Minor League contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training: infielder Wilson Betemit, outfielders Justin Christian and Jeremy Moore, catcher Eddy Rodriguez and right-hander Juan Sandoval.

-Austin Laymance

1/29 Roundup

In a free-agent market light on shortstops, Stephen Drew would figure to be a hot commodity, coming off a year in which he played solid defense at the position and produced a .777 on-base-plus-slugging percentage for the Red Sox. Yet the 30-year-old seems to be running out of options, with Spring Training rapidly approaching.

On Tuesday night, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo that it is “unlikely” his club will sign Drew. On Wednesday, our Bryan Hoch reported that the Yankees are not considering bringing in Drew, while Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network wrote that the A’s also are not interested.

All of those factors could make a return to Boston more likely for Drew, who is tied to Draft pick compensation after receiving a qualifying offer.

In other news from around the league:

  • The Phillies could be a team to watch in the competition for veteran right-hander A.J. Burnett, a free agent who recently decided to pitch this season. Signing Burnett would be a great move for Philadelphia, one that just might get it back to the postseason, writes MLB.com columnist Richard Justice. Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Tom Singer offers an idea for how the Pirates could manage to bring back Burnett.
  • Bronson Arroyo told ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that while 12 teams have contacted his agent this offseason, he has not come close to a deal with any of them. Arroyo and Burnett are drawing some interest from the Blue Jays, but Toronto appears more focused on fellow free-agent right-handers Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, according to Rosenthal.
  • After a 15-year career that included six All-Star teams, a World Series title and 366 home runs, Lance Berkman told MLB.com that he has decided to retire. Berkman spent an injury-plagued 2013 with the Rangers.
  • Right-hander Scott Baker, who returned from Tommy John surgery at the end of last season, signed a Minor League deal with the Mariners and figures to compete for a spot in their starting rotation.
  • Former Phillies closer Ryan Madson, who has missed the past two seasons due to injury, held a private workout for an unknown team on Tuesday and is planning a public audition for more clubs on Feb.7 in Phoenix, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
  • The Cardinals and infielder Daniel Descalso agreed to a one-year contract, avoiding arbitration, while the Cubs did the same with outfielder Justin Ruggiano.
  • The Reds bolstered their infield depth by signing veteran Ramon Santiago to a Minor League contract.
  • For the third time this offseason, the Twins signed a former member of the organization to a Minor League deal, this time bringing back reliever Matt Guerrier.
  • The Angels added Chad Tracy to the mix in their crowded competition for bench spots.
  • The Royals acquired outfielder Carlos Peguero from the Mariners for a player to be named later and designated left-hander Everett Teaford for assignment.

– Andrew Simon

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