Teams are setting rosters around baseball, and you’re going to see a lot of movement in the coming days. Whether the Cubs are involved, remains to be seen. It’s possible Welington Castillo is dealt soon. It’s possible Ryan Sweeney is shopped. Mark Gonzales reports that Sweeney is “available in trade talks,” which shouldn’t be a huge surprise, given the emergence of Matt Szczur this Spring. The Cubs might prefer to give him a shot to stick on the roster, even after Chris Denorfia is ready to go.
- Speaking of the Cubs potentially moving Sweeney, if it happens, don’t expect a terribly interesting return. I say that not because Sweeney isn’t still a potentially decent bench outfielder, but because the outfield market remains very crowded. As Ken Rosenthal writes, the Red Sox, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Padres all have extra outfielders they could/should move.
- And speaking of Castillo, the present plan very much remains to accommodate him on the roster on Opening Day. Joe Maddon tells Carrie Muskat that he’s already spoken with Castillo about how things are going to work, with Castillo coming off of the bench and occasionally starting. Maddon, who has apparently wanted to keep Castillo for a while, added this:
#Cubs Maddon on Castillo: "He's the kind of guy I don't think we want to lose. That's a premium position to find"
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) April 1, 2015
- Theo Epstein said that he doesn’t think that there’s a high likelihood that the Cubs “make a move outside of this camp” (ESPN, CSN). He added, however, that, “We’ll monitor small trade possibilities but we think we have a lot of answers here in camp.” The implication there is that the Cubs aren’t expecting to add anything significant in these closing days of the Spring (I wouldn’t expect that, either, when you look at the roster). It doesn’t rule out dealing anyone away, though.
- Even after Zack Wheeler went down with Tommy John surgery, the Mets are still considering dealing Dillon Gee. Meanwhile, the Mets finally picked up their lefty reliever … two of them, actually: Jerry Blevins from the Nationals and Alex Torres from the Padres. If I didn’t have so many questions about the Mets’ offense, I’d see them as a legit contender. As it stands, I see a meh offense, a meh back of the rotation, and an adequate bullpen. I must be wrong, though, because the Mets are projected by most to be a winning team this year.
- Meanwhile, the Mets have reportedly agreed to a four-year, $23 million extension with center fielder Juan Lagares (plus an option at $9.5 million to buy out his first free agent year). Lagares’ value is entirely predicated on his defense – otherworldly, according to defensive metrics – so it’s an interesting valuation.
- This is interesting:
Exec from opposing team says he asked #Phillies who their 5th starter will be. Was told, "He's not here yet."
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) March 30, 2015
- The Blue Jays optioned Josh Thole to AAA, which means they relented, for now, in their efforts to find value for catcher Dioner Navarro. That may not bode well for the Cubs with respect to Castillo – though Navarro’s salary is more than double Castillo’s, and that can be hard to fit into the budget this time of year.
- Shortly after waiving Rule 5 pick lefty reliever Andrew McKirahan (picked from the Cubs), the Marlins may have lost reliever Aaron Crow for the year with a torn UCL. McKirahan, meanwhile, was claimed by the Braves, who will very likely try and stash him.
- Don’t forget to check out the Opening Day contest – you support BN, you can win a share of $100,000, a signed Anthony Rizzo bat, and a BN shirt.