Results tagged ‘ cubs ’

Reports: Cubs made late push for Shields

James Shields’ free agency saga finally came to an end over the weekend, when the veteran right-hander agreed to a four-year deal with the Padres, who will pay him about $75 million.

But who else was involved with Shields at the end? Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported Monday that the Cubs and Marlins fell into that category, with Chicago offering of about $60 million over three years.

After signing lefty Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million pact in December, the Cubs are “reluctant” to make such a significant commitment to a free-agent starter again next offseason, according to’s Ken Rosenthal. So while Shields’ initial asking price, reported to be more than $100 million, was out of the team’s range, it became interested when that cost fell. The Cubs jumped into the bidding about a week ago, a source told Rosenthal, with a three-year deal that would have expired by the time the club’s current crop of young talent begins to grow expensive.

The question now is whether the late of pursuit of Shields provides any insight into Theo Epstein and company’s future plans. The 2016 free-agent pitching market currently is slated to include stars such as Johnny Cueto, David Price and Jordan Zimmermann, as well as Zack Greinke, if he opts out of his current deal. It’s obviously much too early to assume the Cubs won’t go after any of those players, if available. But as Rosenthal suggests, they might be more likely to chase less expensive options or trade for a talented young arm from their surplus of bats.

— Andrew Simon

Moncada working out for Padres, mixed reports on interest

Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada is reportedly working out for the Padres on Monday, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

While Passan adds that San Diego “plans to be aggressive” in pursuing Moncada, a source tells’s Corey Brock that the Padres might be done with their offseason spending spree after signing James Shields to a four-year, $75 million deal on Monday.

As for Moncada, the five-tool infielder is also believed to be receiving serious interest from at least 10 other teams — a list that includes the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, A’s, Giants, Rangers, Cubs, Tigers, Phillies, and Cardinals. The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers have all been mentioned as potential frontrunners to land Moncada at various times this offseason.

Though naturally a shortstop, the 19-year-old phenom can also play second or third base. Along with bolstering the rotation by signing Shields on Monday, the Padres have already added Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Justin Upton to their outfield corps this offseason.

While Moncada would just be the latest blockbuster move for the Padres this offseason, it’s unclear at this point whether or not the club is willing to spend big on yet another player after signing Shields.

— Paul Casella

Padres win the Shields sweepstakes

The Padres have reportedly agreed to a four-year deal with James Shields, taking the top remaining free agent off the market. The club is yet to confirm the signing.

Shields, who was believed to originally be seeking a nine-figure contract, instead settled for a deal that is worth between $72 million and $75 million, a source told’s Corey Brock. The deal, which is pending a physical, also carries a club option for a fifth year.

It’s unclear who the Padres ultimately beat out to sign Shields, but the Cubs and Marlins were both among the teams still linked to Shields over the past week. Whether or not either of those teams — or another team entirely — extended an actual offer to the 33-year-old righty is unknown at this point.

As for the Padres, an argument can be made that they will enter the upcoming season with the most improved roster — on paper, at least. Along with a revamped offense that includes Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers, the Padres now have a rotation that could help them compete in a division that features the defending World Series champion Giants, as well as the reigning division champion Dodgers.

Shields will slot into the top of a rotation that already included Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy. The final spot figures to be filled by one of Brandon Morrow, Robbie Erlin or Odrisamer Despaigne.

— Paul Casella

Mariners sign John Baker to Minors deal

The Mariners have signed veteran catcher John Baker to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Baker, 34, provides depth and should compete for a backup role with Seattle. He hit .192 in 68 games with the Cubs last season. Baker has also played for the Marlins and Padres over a seven-year career in the big leagues.

The Mariners have three catchers on their 40-man roster in Mike Zunino, John Hicks and Jesus Sucre.

Pitchers and catchers report to Mariners camp Feb. 20.

–Austin Laymance

Geovany Soto to White Sox

The White Sox have signed catcher Geovany Soto to a Minor League deal, tweets Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago. It’s not clear if Soto has an invite to Major League Spring Training.

Soto, 32, appeared in 24 games last season, split between the Rangers and A’s. He was an All-Star in 2008 with the Cubs and has played parts of 10 seasons in the Majors.

The White Sox have four catchers on their 40-man roster: Tyler Flowers, Adrian Nieto, Rob Brantly and Kevan Smith.

–Austin Laymance

Dexter Fowler to the Cubs?

The Cubs appear close to trading for Astros center fielder Dexter Fowler, according to Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago. The proposed deal includes Major League players going to Houston, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

It’s not clear yet who all is involved in the proposed trade, aside from Fowler.

Fowler, 28, hit .276 with eight home runs, 21 doubles and four triples in 116 games with the Astros in 2014. He has a career .375 on-base percentage over seven seasons with the Rockies and Astros. He filed for salary arbitration and is eligible to become a free agent after the season.

Fowler would be a huge upgrade for the Cubs, as their current center field options include Arismendy Alcantara, Ryan Sweeney and Matthew Szczur.

–Austin Laymance

Cubs sign Doubront, avoid arbitration

The Cubs and left-hander Felix Doubront have agreed to a one-year, $1.925 million contract for 2015, avoiding salary arbitration, reports Carrie Muskat of

Doubront, 27, was arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career. He was acquired from the Red Sox in a trade in July for Minor League infielder Marco Hernandez. Doubront made four starts for the Cubs and went 2-1 with a 3.98 ERA.

The Cubs have six remaining players eligible for arbitration: Travis Wood, Luis Valbuena, Chris Coghlan, Pedro Strop, Jake Arrieta and Welington Castillo.

Chicago has until Friday’s deadline to exchange binding salary figures with these players, after which, they can continue to negotiate contracts until the case is presented to an arbitration panel in February.

— Austin Laymance

D-backs change course, not interested in adding another catcher

Though the Diamondbacks have been tied to rumors involving both the Blue Jays’ Dioner Navarro and the Cubs’ Welington Castillo, among others, the club is no longer looking to acquire another catcher, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

D-backs general manager Dave Stewart confirmed that the team is content with its current catching situation, thanks primarily to the development of prospect Peter O’Brien, who was acquired from the Yankees in the Martin Prado deal this past summer. The 24-year-old O’Brien, who checks in as the D-backs’ No. 8-ranked prospect according to, posted a .271/.316/.594 batting line with 34 home runs over just 106 games between Class A and Double-A this past season.

“I’ve decided that I’m not going to pursue another catcher,” Stewart said, according to the report. “I talked with my people and my coaching staff. They believe that O’Brien is going to be around sooner than later. If that does happen, there’s no need to go out and get another guy.”

With O’Brien not quite ready for the Majors, however, Arizona is set to enter the season with the catching duo of Tuffy Gosewisch and Oscar Hernandez, who was taken in last month’s Rule 5 Draft. Gosewich racked up a .225/.242/.310 batting line over 132 plate appearances in 41 games last season, while serving as Miguel Montero’s backup. Montero, of course, was traded to the Cubs last month.

Though the D-backs had been linked to a number of rumors involving catchers in the aftermath of trading away Montero, the team has instead decided to stand pat at the position for the time being. As for Navarro and Castillo, both players remain possible trade chips with each of their respective clubs having upgraded behind the plate earlier this offseason.

— Paul Casella

Rays to move Zobrist this offseason?

Though it seems to be nothing more than speculation at this point, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi writes that there is a “decent chance” the Rays will trade second baseman Ben Zobrist at some point this offseason.

On the surface, trading Zobrist would certainly make sense for a Rays team that has already had a busy offseason. The versatile infielder is set to turn 34 years old in May and is due to make $7.5 million in 2015 before hitting the free agent market after the season. A number of teams would likely be interested in Zobrist, something that could lead to the Rays moving him this offseason before watching him walk away in free agency next winter.

While nothing has materialized quite yet, Morosi lists the Mets, Nationals, Mariners, Rangers, Cubs, Reds, and Twins as potential fits for Zobrist. Again, there is nothing concrete to report on this front as of right now, but it simply seems to be the next logical step for the Rays and is something worth monitoring into the New Year.

— Paul Casella

Moncada could start workouts within two weeks

Cuban shortstop Yoan Moncada is still awaiting clearance from the Office of Foreign Asset and Control (OFAC), but is widely expected to begin private workouts within the next two weeks according to’s Jesse Sanchez.

The 19-year-old is one of the game’s top international prospects right now and is expected to garner significant interest once he’s officially available. Though his market will continue to develop as teams make more offseason moves, the clubs that were represented at Moncada’s “batting showcase” earlier this year were the Braves, Red Sox, Yankees, Giants, Rays, Padres and Cubs.

Given his age, position and switch-hitting ability, Moncada doesn’t figure to be short on offers as the process continues. There are no clear frontrunners at this point, but it’s certainly a situation worth monitoring in the coming weeks.

— Paul Casella


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