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Winter Meetings Sunday Night: Cubs Add a Reliever, Cobb on Deck, Offseason Plan in Focus

Chicago Cubs Rumors, MLB News and Rumors

Major League Baseball executives, player agents, and media are rolling into Orlando, Florida for this year’s Winter Meetings, where they will also coalesce into a rumor-and-transaction jambalaya of incredible. You like rumors? Well, baby, this week’s for you.


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Although all of the transaction world could get off the ground without face-to-face interactions, there’s still nothing in this technologically-inclined world (yet) that beats good old fashioned conversations. Moreover, the meetings offer an opportunity for a whole lot of other baseball business to be conducted, including things at the ownership level, the minor league level, the job-seeker level, and the draft level (specifically, the Rule 5 Draft takes place on Thursday).

But on the transaction and rumor front, yeah, it’s gonna be a huge week. Things already kicked off today, with the Cubs agreeing to sign reliever Brandon Morrow to a deal that will presumably become official in the next few days.

  • Sahadev Sharma writes about the Brandon Morrow addition, and how it aligns – together with the Tyler Chatwood signing and Alex Cobb pursuit – with the Cubs’ offseason strategy so far: use money to fill holes with short-term additions. All things considered, the approach strikes me as very sensible if the Cubs can pull it off. It’s easy to head into an offseason thinking, “Yeah, we just want to fill all of our holes with good players on short-term deals,” but actually effectuating that plan is largely outside your own control. But if the Cubs can land Cobb on, say, a four-year deal (I’d call that still up in the air), then you’ve got to say that the three pitching additions so far would be a huge success.

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  • Speaking of the Cubs and Cobb:

  • Given everything we know about the pursuit and the relationships at play, it would still be an upset if the Cubs didn’t land Cobb, but it’s worth noting the other teams involved. The Cubs don’t operate in isolation, and you can’t rule out a team that Cobb otherwise likes (for whatever personal reason) blowing him away with an offer that the Cubs deem imprudent.

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  • Earlier, Bruce Levine reported that the Cubs are wanting to wrap up a deal for Cobb sooner rather than later. If they do, they’ll have a nominal five-man rotation set (Quintana, Lester, Hendricks, Cobb, Chatwood), and can then sit back and be opportunistic if some other pitching trade opportunity comes along. (Specifically, from where I sit, the Cubs could sit back and possibly target upper-level pitching prospects rather than feeling like they had to add a controllable starter who is already big-league ready.)
  • From there, it’ll be all about adding the right additional pieces in the bullpen, a back-up catcher, and perhaps a complementary outfielder.
  • If you missed it, the Cardinals added Luke Gregerson to their bullpen.
  • Giancarlo Stanton will be introduced tomorrow:

  • The Marlins still figure to be the focus of trade talks, even after moving Stanton, with outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich theoretical available, and new infielder Starlin Castro definitely available.

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  • It’s not likely to impact the Cubs directly (like, in terms of their roster), but with Stanton dealt, we’ll finally see some movement – probably this week – on the positional free agent front. Lots of names out there, from Martinez to Hosmer to Santana to Cain to Moustakas to many more. You know, basically everyone. Even if the Cubs are impacted directly, their competitors will be.
  • Meanwhile, in philosophical silliness:

  • Some visuals:


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.