Results tagged ‘ cubs ’

Ruggiano to Mariners – UPDATE

The Cubs dealt outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the Mariners Wednesday for Minor League pitcher Matt Brazis, opening a spot on the 40-man roster. Ruggiano, 32, batted .281 with six home runs and 28 RBIs in 81 games for the Cubs last season, but missed time because of a left hamstring injury suffered in late April. His season ended on Aug. 22 when he fractured his left ankle.

Brazis, 25, is 8-6 with 14 saves and a 2.89 ERA in 100 Minor League relief appearances over three seasons for the Mariners. He split last season between Class A High Desert and Double-A Jackson, going 4-1 with six saves and a 2.36 ERA in 40 appearances. Brazis struck out 84 batters and walked 18 in 72 1/3 innings pitched.

The Cubs do want to add a veteran outfielder, but were looking for players with more experience to be what manager Joe Maddon calls “clubhouse dudes” and help mentor the young guys.

Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown first reported the possible trade on Wednesday.

– Carrie Muskat

Mariners acquire Ruggiano from Cubs

The Mariners reached a deal on Wednesday to acquire outfielder Justin Ruggiano from the Cubs in exchange for Minor League reliever Matt Brazis.

Ruggiano hit a respectable .281/.337/.429 for the Cubs last season, though he was limited to just 81 games by various injuries. He missed time early in the season due to a left hamstring issue before later suffering a left ankle injury that ultimately ended his season on Aug. 22.

Ruggiano should at least provide further outfield depth for the Mariners, who have also been linked to the Phillies’ Marlon Byrd and Washington’s Ian Desmond in recent days. The move to acquire Ruggiano could quiet any talks involving Byrd, but the Mariners could still be interested in adding another solid hitter, such as Desmond.

– Paul Casella

Justin Ruggiano rumors

According to Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown, the Cubs and Mariners have had conversations about Justin Ruggiano. The outfielder batted .281 in 81 games with the Cubs. His season ended Aug. 22 when he injured his left ankle. Ruggiano also missed time in late April and early May because of a left hamstring injury. The right-handed hitter has a career slash line of .257/.319/.431. The Cubs’ 40-man roster is full after the additions of Jason Hammel and Jon Lester, so the team will have to make some decisions if they are to find room for the so-called “clubhouse dudes” that manager Joe Maddon wants to add.

– Carrie Muskat

Rangers sign Fujikawa

The Rangers have signed free-agent right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa to a one-year deal with a club option for 2016, the club announced on Tuesday.

Texas also signed first baseman Kyle Blanks and infielder Tommy Field to Minor League deals with invitations to Major League Spring Training.

Fujikawa, 34, made his big league debut with the Cubs in 2013. Over two seasons in Chicago, he was limited to 27 total appearances due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in June 2013. He’s been effective when healthy, though, striking out 31 in 25 career innings.

Blanks, 28, split time with the Padres and A’s last season. He hit a combined .309 with two home runs in 26 games. In 260 career games in the big leauges, Blanks has a .234 average with 30 homers.

Field was in Triple-A in 2014 with both the Angels and Pirates organizations. The 27-year-old appeared in 33 games with the Rockies and Angels from 2011-12.

–Austin Laymance

Astros could enter mix for Hamels

The Astros are reportedly being considered a “sleeper team” in trade talks regarding the Phillies’ Cole Hamels, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

The Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, Rangers and Giants have all been linked to Hamels this offseason, though Cafardo believes the Astros could swoop in and make a push to work out a deal with the Phils. That said, Hamels does have a no-trade list and it’s unclear at this point whether or not the Astros are on it.

Either way, there is speculation that Hamels might be willing to waive his no-trade clause for any of the aforementioned teams, if said team agrees to pick up his $20 million club option for 2019. He’s currently owed $90 million over the next four seasons before that option year comes into play.

The Giants’ interest likely depends on whether or not they’re able to sign James Shields, while the Cubs could fall out of the race as well after signing top free agent starter Jon Lester last week. The Red Sox and Dodgers are widely believed to still be the frontrunners for Hamels, but it appears they may have more competition than initially expected.

– Paul Casella

Cubs, Gomes and Upton rumors

The Cubs made new manager Joe Maddon happy by adding his bench coach, Dave Martinez, to the staff. Could they also add former Rays outfielder Jonny Gomes? Gomes, 34, who played for the Rays from 2003-08, could be another attractive right-handed bat for the Cubs bench, and one of the “clubhouse dudes” Maddon is looking for to help mentor the younger players. It would be interesting if he was signed by the Cubs. Gomes was included with Jon Lester in the Red Sox trade to the Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes last July.

David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the Cubs and Padres are “turning up” their efforts to add a right-handed power bat, and could be looking at Justin Upton.

The Cubs do want to add an extra outfielder, but also plan on giving most of the at-bats to Jorge Soler, and they were happy with Chris Coghlan’s performance. Arismendy Alcantara is playing center field in the Dominican Republic.

– Carrie Muskat

Cubs reportedly pursuing Gomes

The Cubs are reportedly interested in free agent outfielder Jonny Gomes, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

With Jon Lester now in the fold, one of the Cubs’ next moves is apparently to target Gomes, a teammate of Lester’s on the 2013 World Series champion Red Sox. The 34-year-old Gomes struggled to a .234/.327/.330 batting line this past season with just six home runs and 37 RBIs over 112 combined games between the Red Sox and Athletics.

Gomes has also been linked to the Orioles, Rangers and Mariners over the past week.

– Paul Casella

Maddon on Lester race: “I hope we win it”

What’s Joe Maddon’s take on the Jon Lester sweepstakes?

“I hope we win it,” Maddon said Tuesday.

Speaking to the media at the Winter Meetings, the new Cubs manager said he had a phone conversation with Lester in November, part of the team’s recruiting process. They discussed hunting, the AL East, past games, and how much respect Maddon has for the left-hander.

“I always admired his work from a distance,” Maddon said. “This is a guy who, when the game was really big, he was always at his best. To possibly get this opportunity to work with him for the first time is very exciting. I honest to God don’t know where this is at right now.”

Maddon does acknowledge that it will be tough for Lester to leave Boston.

“Having been with the Red Sox his whole career and all the wonderful success he’s had there, you would think it would be a difficult situation,” Maddon said. “I can’t speak for that, personally. As an opponent, this guy was always at his best when it seemed to matter most. You want to get to him early because if you permit him to settle, he’s definitely going to be there in the seventh or eighth innings.

“You can’t have any respect for a Major League baseball player than we do for him right now. For us to be able to pull this off would be pretty outstanding.”

Did Maddon have any idea as to how long it will be before Lester makes a decision?

“I’m sure it’s not going to be much longer,” Maddon said. “I really have no information or knowledge about that. You just wait for the white smoke.”

– Carrie Muskat

Giants in “backseat” on Lester talks?

Giants assistant general manager Bobby Evans suggested to reporters on Tuesday afternoon that the Cubs and Red Sox may be the favorites in the Jon Lester sweepstakes.

Evans reportedly added that the Giants are in the “backseat” when it comes to Lester talks, but other teams are “driving the car.” He also said that a Lester decision isn’t necessarily expected to come on Tuesday, as previously reported.

Though the Giants haven’t been informed that they are off Lester’s radar, Evans’ comments certainly aren’t encouraging. The Giants may have been late entrants in the pursuit of Lester, but general manager Brian Sabean confirmed on Monday that the club’s primary focus is on landing Lester.

“Right now it’s all about Lester,” Sabean said before later adding: “We’re still on the board.”

While that may still be the case, it appears that the Cubs and Red Sox — the initial favorites to sign Lester — are re-emerging as the left-hander’s most likely destinations.

– Paul Casella

Tigers intent on keeping Scherzer

The Tigers’ primary focus is on re-signing marquee free agent Max Scherzer, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

The market for Scherzer has been relatively quiet so far this offseason, though that’s likely to change over the next 24 hours with fellow free agent starter Jon Lester expected to announce his decision.

Olney writes that the Tigers are not only “prepared to spend big, big dollars” to sign Scherzer, but that they also plan to keep co-ace David Price in the fold for 2015, as well. Again, there has been very little talk surrounding Scherzer to this point as teams wait to see where Lester ends up.

Aside from the Tigers, other teams that have been linked to Scherzer in varying extents include the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Nationals, Phillies, Cardinals, Cubs, Giants, and Blue Jays. The team that ultimately signs Lester will obviously drop off that list.

Regardless, the final cost for Scherzer figures to be enormous, given the amount of deep-pocketed teams that are in the market for an elite starter. Scherzer, keep in mind, turned down a $144 million extension offer from the Tigers last spring.

– Paul Casella

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