Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

2015 winter meetingsThe Cubs obviously went nuts last night signing Ben Zobrist and trading Starlin Castro, but the rumor mill around baseball didn’t stop churning. That includes today’s Cubs-Carlos Gomez rumor, and Jed Hoyer’s confirmation that financial flexibility still exists.

Elsewhere …

  • As we mull the possibility that the Cubs will be able to be aggressive on Jason Heyward, but might have to consider some backup plans, I thought you might be interested in a take on Heyward as a center fielder. The takeaway from FanGraphs? He’d probably be pretty good in center field, too. He should be target number one, underlined, capitalized, bolded, and cherry-scented.
  • Speaking of Heyward, Jon Heyman says that folks are talking about him landing a 10-year deal, which does not strike me as crazy at all for a 26-year-old player. Heyman mentions the teams you’d expect – the Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, and Angels – and, of course, the mystery team.
  • Bruce Levine reports that Carlos Gonzalez is an option for the Cubs, as the Rockies are considering moving him. I’ve never seen Gonzalez as a great fit for the Cubs, given the cumulative effects of numerous injuries, aging, and moving out of Coors Field. Levine’s report mentions Jorge Soler as a “foundational piece” of a deal, which is pretty hard to square, given the above-mentioned concerns about Gonzalez, paired with the $37 million he’s owed over the next two years. Maybe if the Rockies were including more than Gonzalez, but is that really realistic? I don’t see a Gonzalez-Soler swap as making much sense.

  • There is a lot of interest in Gonzalez, according to Jerry Crasnick. I certainly don’t mean to diminish his potential value in these next two years as a bat – when he’s hot, there’s no one hotter in baseball. I just would rather see the Cubs go all out on the right center fielder.
  • It remains to be seen what conversations are left to be had with the Rays after yesterday’s activity – presumably, they still want Javier Baez if it’s possible to obtain him – but Phil Rogers points out that a few other names have come up in those talks, including Dan Vogelbach, Christian Villanueva, and Matt Szczur. Recognize something about those names? They’re all guys currently on the Cubs’ 40-man roster who may not ever have a spot on the big league team. Ideally, they’d be sweeteners in a deal.

  • The Giants, right now, are seen as the frontrunner for Alex Gordon, according to Buster Olney.
  • Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs and Padres are in on Fernando Rodney. For more on Rodney and the Cubs, we discussed him earlier in the week.
  • The Cubs are also reportedly meeting with reps for lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo. For now, I’d expect any further additions in the bullpen to fall only into two categories: elite impact types or depth, minor league signing types. Bastardo’s good, but I’m not sure he’s the right fit at this point with an otherwise full pen.
  • Given how much the Diamondbacks gave up for Miller (which amounted to Soler-plus-plus), even as much as I wanted the guy for the Cubs, I think of this as a good thing:

  • No rumor here, just thinking out loud: any chance the Braves would consider moving Ender Inciarte? I’m sure Cubs would have interest, given his great glove, versatility, baserunning ability, and decent bat. More likely, though, the Braves are content to hang onto the inexpensive outfielder for a while.
  • Speaking of crazy trade requests:

  • The Mets could be looking at a deal with the Pirates on Neil Walker, having missed out on Ben Zobrist. The two sides have reportedly discussed a Walker-Jon Niese swap. The Angels are interested in Walker, too, and it seems pretty likely at this point that the Pirates will move him (and the $10ish million he’ll make in 2016).
  • We’ll see if the Angels get owner approval:

  • The Chris Davis market is reaching the $150 million level – that’s the reported offer over seven years from the Orioles.
  • Clearly the A’s believe they’ve identified a market inefficiency with respect to certain relievers. Not long after signing Ryan Madson to a very surprising three-year deal, they’re now signing John Axford to a two-year, $10 million contract. Sure, Axford was decent last year – and better than he was the two years before – but that’s a healthy commitment.
  • The White Sox and A’s are working on a Brett Lawrie trade, but it’s not there yet.

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