It’s been an exceedingly active couple days already this week. Spillover from the Winter Meetings is to be expected, but this felt even more concentrated. Come January, we may have little to discuss but, well, future good baseball!
- In tandem with the Jon Lester press conference yesterday, Theo Epstein was asked about what’s next for the Cubs. Although he didn’t give up much, Epstein did mention (for example, on Sports Talk Live) that the Cubs would like to keep adding. Epstein said he likes the Cubs’ starting pitching depth, but would like to add a veteran reliever. That comment came before the reported Jason Motte signing, by the way. As for the outfield, Epstein mentioned wanting to add a bat, but the variety sounded more like a complementary/leader type piece, rather than an impact starter.
- That said, Epstein left open the possibility that the Cubs could add a leadoff type hitter in the outfield, perhaps in center field, according to Mark Gonzales. In either case, it doesn’t sound like Colby Rasmus is a realistic target for the Cubs, despite this weekend’s report that the two sides had met. Indeed, Patrick Mooney hears Rasmus is not a guy the Cubs are looking to add. I can certainly understand; though if Rasmus winds up settling for a one-year deal (as Peter Gammons suggests he might), I’ll probably be a little envious.
- As for lefty relievers, Epstein hinted that there aren’t many attractive external options available right now (Mark Gonzales), which could leave the Cubs going with one or two of their in-house options in the pen. Joe Ortiz and Zac Rosscup are the two clear relievers in that mix, but there’s also Tsuyoshi Wada and Felix Doubront, depending on how the rotation competition goes (and it sounds like Epstein may have mentioned those two, specifically, as possibilities, per Jesse Rogers).
- As is always the case: it sounds like the Cubs are open to a variety of potential paths for the rest of this offseason, depending on what presents itself (in addition to whatever they’re working on already).
- The Cubs are likely to keep listening on Welington Castillo, though I don’t think you’ll see an affirmative push to trade him (until/unless the Cubs sign David Ross). Castillo has clear value to the Cubs. The question is whether he’s so much more valuable to another team as a starter, rather than a part-time/back-up with the Cubs, that the other team will knock the Cubs over with an offer. In other words, the bet here is that, if the Cubs trade Castillo, it’s going to be for a very nice return.
- More from Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer here at MLBTR, including Epstein’s confirmation that the Cubs would consider acquiring a one-year guy if the price was right (not that you would have expected a different answer).
- Dave Kaplan finds it “hard to believe” that the Cubs would be done making substantive additions to the roster.
- If you were thinking of Matt Joyce as a possible outfield target for the Cubs, you can stop: the Angels just picked him up from the Rays for reliever Kevin Jepsen. For me, I didn’t really crush on Joyce for the Cubs – he’s a lefty, and not a clear every-game starter. I’d like to see the Cubs pick up a clear, every-game starter OR a quality platoon righty bat.
- The Yankees are reportedly bringing back lefty Chris Capuano for one year and $5 million. That’s all well and good, but I still can’t fathom the Yankees not adding a significant starter this offseason.
- I wasn’t really thinking of Gavin Floyd as a roll-the-dice type for the Cubs – he broke his elbow while coming back from Tommy John surgery last year – and it’s good that I didn’t waste any emotional investment there. He just signed with the Indians for $4 million, with up to $6 million in incentives.
- The Dodgers stand ready to eat $9.5 million on Brian Wilson (well, $9 million if a team ultimately signs Wilson for the Major League minimum), whom they just DFA’d today. The Dodgers have lots of money and understand sunk costs.
- The Samardzija/Robertson/Cabrera press conference introducing the White Sox’s new trio of high profile players was today, and I reckon there will be some good Samardzija quotes filtering out. For now, and in this space, I just want to highlight this quote from White Sox GM Rick Hahn:
Rick Hahn says that because ticket sales were up after winter meetings moves, Reinsdorf gave approval for Cabrera contract.
— Doug Padilla (@ESPNChiSox) December 16, 2014