Results tagged ‘ cubs ’

Alfonso Soriano announces retirement

Alfonso Soriano is retiring from the Major Leagues after 16 seasons, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Soriano, 38, was released by the Yankees in July after playing in 67 games in 2014, the final year of an eight-year, $136 million contract he signed with the Cubs before the 2007 season. He was selected to seven consecutive All-Star Games during his career and ranks 50th on the all-time home run list with 412.

“I’ve lost the love and passion to play the game,” Soriano said in a radio interview Tuesday in his native Dominican Republic, according to the AP. “Right now, my family is the most important thing. … Although I consider myself in great shape, my mind is not focused on baseball.”

Soriano played parts of five seasons with the Yankees from 1999-2003 before he was traded to the Rangers in 2004 in the deal that brought Alex Rodriguez to New York. After two seasons with Texas, Soriano was traded to the Nationals before the 2006 season. Soriano spent seven years with the Cubs before being dealt to the Yankees in 2013.

–Austin Laymance

The Cubs and Russell Martin

One day after signing free agent manager Joe Maddon, the Cubs are checking the list of free agent players and are reportedly looking at Russell Martin. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman said Tuesday the Cubs are going to target Martin, considered the top catcher available this offseason. Sources also told Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s Patrick Mooney that the Cubs have Martin on their radar.

The Pirates extended the $15.3 million qualifying offer to Martin, but he was expected to turn that down. The Pirates want to bring Martin back, and are one of several teams interested in the catcher. The list also is believed to include the Blue Jays and Red Sox. Martin will most likely be looking for a five-year deal, especially after catchers Brian McCann, Yadier Molina and Miguel Montero each signed contracts of that length. McCann received $85 million, Molina $75 million and Montero $60 million.

Other players who received the one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer on Monday include Max Scherzer, Victor Martinez, Melky Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Nelson Cruz, Francisco Liriano, Michael Cuddyer and Ervin Santana. The players have until Nov. 10 to make a decision.

The Cubs would not have to give up a first-round Draft pick to sign Martin because of the team’s finish in the bottom 10 among Major League teams but instead it would cost a second-round pick. They also would have the amount slotted for that pick subtracted from the total amount of their Draft signing bonus pool, which governs how much a team can spend to sign picks in the top 10 rounds.

Martin’s slash line last season with the Pirates was .290/.402/.430, and he hit 11 home runs and drove in 67. He did miss time early in the season because of a left hamstring injury.

The Cubs had hoped Welington Castillo could pick up where he left off in the second half of 2013 when he hit .288 but instead batted .237 in 110 games. Castillo did set career-highs in home runs (13) and RBIs (46), but also was sidelined with a rib cage injury.

<em>– Carrie Muskat</em>

Teams looking for dance partner

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer has had plenty of conversations with other teams prior to Thursday’s Trade Deadline but said they may not make another deal.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we made no moves,” Hoyer said Tuesday. “I expect to be active, we’re having a lot of conversations. It’s still early. [Wednesday] is sort of moving day. I expect things will get more serious as we move into tomorrow. People have some reluctance on the last day.

“[Wednesday] evening is when a lot of people hone in on the deals they want to make,” he said.

The Cubs made their blockbuster move on July 4, trading starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics for four players, including highly touted shortstop Addison Russell and outfielder Billy McKinney.

Other teams are still trying to find the right match.

“People try to find a dance partner on the 30th and 31st,” Hoyer said. “As you get to [Wednesday] evening, people want to make deals and they’re more willing to pair up, and I expect that to be the same thing.”

There has been some interest in the Cubs’ left-handed relievers, James Russell and Wesley Wright.

– Carrie Muskat

Cubs checking list of who to keep, deal

On Friday, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported on Twitter that the Cubs may hang onto Justin Ruggiano and Luis Valbuena at the Trade Deadline even though both have drawn interest and could help a contending club. On Wednesday, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told Chicago media that they are evaluating the current roster and trying to decide who to keep. What they want to determine is which players now will help the next generation make the transition.

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

– Carrie Muskat

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

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