Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

stovePlayers are trickling in to Spring Training sites, and official report dates start next week. While trades during Spring Training do happen, teams tend to prefer to have their roster settled by the time they collectively show up. While that doesn’t necessarily mean we could see a flurry of activity in the next two weeks, it is possible.

  • Ken Rosenthal discusses Michael Bourn’s continuing quest to find a team, with a heavy focus on the Mets (and their continuing quest to not have to give up their first round draft pick to sign him). Among the other teams Rosenthal mentions as ongoing possibilities for Bourn: the Mariners, the Rangers, and the Cubs.
  • Joel Sherman offers some thoughts that suggest Bourn’s current price on the market: Bourn is believed to be still asking for five years and $75 million, but, according to Sherman, teams may be reluctant to go to even four years on him. The Mets have “hinted” at a willingness to go to four years, though. And Bourn’s agent, Scott Boras, is probably going to feel compelled to get at least four years and $40 million, given that Angel Pagan got that much from the Giants. At 4/$40M, I sure would like to see the Cubs considering their options – and I’m not a huge Bourn fan, either. But I could see some nice surplus value there.

  • I mentioned it in the Bullets this morning, but, because it has a rumor-y bent, I’ll mention it here, too: in his interviews yesterday, Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein discussed the future of Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol. Essentially, he said the Cubs would continue to consider trade proposals for those two (well, they’d consider trade proposals for anyone), but, so far, no one has stepped up with an offer that was sufficiently attractive to make them pull the trigger (except the Dan Haren trade, I suppose). Theo used words like “right now” and “we’re happy.” Cutting right through to the bone, I think the point is this: the Cubs are ready to move either or both players in the right deal, and would probably like to do so.
  • If you’re thinking the Cardinals are going to be desperate for another arm now that Chris Carpenter is likely retiring, I wouldn’t be so sure. They have high-level depth unlike almost any team, and have suggested quite strongly that they’re content to go with what they have. For all we know, they’ve been suspecting the Carpenter news for a while now.
  • Bruce Levine did his chat thing yesterday, and among his thoughts: (1) the Cubs and Tigers have not discussed a Carlos Marmol/Rick Porcello swap, as much as we might wish they have – but Bruce does think Marmol has “tons” of trade value, and will be dealt before Opening Day; (2) third base is “open,” but everyone is assuming Ian Stewart will get the nod when the season rolls around; (3) if the Cubs hang onto Alfonso Soriano, at some point, age and injury are going to take their toll; (4) Bruce doesn’t think the Cubs are keen on putting Travis Wood in the bullpen; (5) there still isn’t any clarity on whether the Cubs would prefer to trade Matt Garza or extend him, and on whether Garza is open to an extension after he shows he’s healthy in the first couple months of the season; (6) the Cubs tried very hard this Winter to get either Mike Olt or Lonnie Chisenhall, but couldn’t pull it off; and (7) apparently when asked about a second lefty in the bullpen (besides James Russell), Chris Bosio mentioned Chris Rusin as a possibility and Dontrelle Willis as a long-shot (I’ve got to believe that’s a bit of Bruce editorializing – if not, you’d think Hisanori Takahashi’s name would come up looooong before Willis’s).

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