Results tagged ‘ cubs ’

Cubs in mix for Martin

Could the Cubs sign free agent catcher Russell Martin? FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal posted on Twitter that executives involved in bidding for Martin feel the Cubs are the “clear front runner.” Rosenthal said they project a deal in the four-year, $64 million range. The Cubs would like to upgrade at catcher after a disappointing offensive season by Welington Castillo. Martin reportedly met with Cubs officials at Wrigley Field earlier this month. Other teams reportedly pursuing Martin include the Dodgers, Blue Jays and Pirates.

The Pirates did extend Martin a qualifying offer, which he declined. The Cubs’ top pick in the June Draft (ninth overall) is protected, and they would have to give up their second-round pick if they did sign Martin.

– Carrie Muskat

Cubs acquire La Stella from Braves

The Cubs’ middle infield just got a little more crowded. On Sunday, the Cubs acquired left-handed hitting infielder Tommy La Stella from the Braves, as well as Atlanta’s No. 4 international signing bonus slot, for pitcher Arodys Vizcaino and three international signing bonus slots. Vizcaino, 24, returns to the Braves, where he began his pro career. The Cubs had acquired the right-hander in July 2012 from the Braves along with pitcher Jaye Chapman for pitcher Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson.

In Sunday’s deal, the net gain for the Braves in international bonus pool slot money is about $832,000, according to Baseball America. Atlanta will get the Cubs’ Nos. 2, 3 and 4 international signing bonus slots. The Braves’ No. 4 slot is valued at $142,000.

Where will La Stella play? A good contact hitter, he’s the type of player the Cubs would like at the top of the lineup. But they already have an overload of middle infielders with Starlin Castro, Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Logan Watkins, Luis Valbuena and top prospect Addison Russell. At the end of the 2014 season, Castro and Baez were projected as the starting shortstop and second baseman for next year. The Cubs are in the market to add starting pitching, and could possibly deal one of the infielders.

However, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said the deal for La Stella was not a precursor to any other deal.

“Sometimes you have to acquire guys that can get on-base,” Hoyer told ESPN.com. “It’s something we needed.”

– Carrie Muskat

Jon Lester to meet with Cubs

According to reports, free agent pitcher Jon Lester will meet with Cubs officials next week. ESPNBoston.com reports Lester’s agents have prepared a 200-plus page full color portfolio on the pitcher, along with a three-minute video. It features his charity work as well as his efforts on the field. Lester’s agent, Seth Levinson, met with Cubs officials as well as others, including Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, during the GM meetings in Phoenix. That’s standard procedure — agents touch base with all teams interested in their clients. But the bidding for Lester most likely will come down to the Cubs vs. Red Sox, who would like Lester to come back.

Just don’t expect the Cubs to sign Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields.

“It’s hard to acquire pitching. Period,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Wednesday in Phoenix. “It’s hard to acquire top-of-the-rotation pitching. I’ve seen us linked. People predict that we’re going to sign two top-of-the-rotation starters who both require nine-figure contracts. That’s not happening.

“Look at the history of nine-figure starting pitching contracts, and it’s a huge risk,” Epstein said. “So, to put an organization in the position to have two such deals immediately in the course of the same offseason, I couldn’t imagine something like that occurring.”

– Carrie Muskat

Cubs deny Zimmermann report

Cubs officials denied a report they were in contact with the Nationals regarding a potential trade for right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. A source told the Chicago Sun-Times that the teams have mutual interest, with the Cubs sending one of their middle infielders to the Nationals for the pitcher. However, a Cubs official told MLB.com Tuesday night that the report was not true. FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal also reported Cubs officials denying the Sun-Times report.

The Cubs are in the market for starting pitching, but are more likely to be exploring the free agent pitchers on the market, including Jon Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields. If the price for those players is too high, they could wait for next year’s free agent market that will include Zimmermann, David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Theo Epstein has said repeatedly that they are looking at players over the next 15 months, not just this offseason.

Zimmermann, who turns 29 in May, is due to make $16.5 million in 2015, the last year of his contract. He was 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA in 32 starts in 2014.

– Carrie Muskat

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

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