Baseball’s hot stove has yet to get cooking, but the Chicago Cubs have been busy as free agency gets underway.
Who are the Cubs targeting? Who could they be saying goodbye to? We have a recap of all the action on the trade and free agent markets here.
-According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Cubs fans shouldn’t close the door on a reunion with pitcher Jake Arrieta just yet.
In a new report, Arrieta was a topic of discussion for the Cubs at the G.M. Meetings, but the two sides remain apart on the number of years on a potential contract. Arrieta reportedly wants six or seven years, while the Cubs are looking for a shorter-term deal with higher average value per year.
Heyman listed several possible options if the Cubs lose Arrieta to free agency, including a trade for Chris Archer or signing another pitcher like Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb.
-The Cubs are one of several teams that are interested in soon-to-be free agent pitcher Shohei Otani, who will be posted by his Japanese club and will look to come to the big leagues for the 2018 season.
According to NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan, the Cubs are one of several teams that Otani would consider pitching for, a list that includes the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, among others.
With Otani, the possibility of signing him comes with a VERY interesting caveat: he also might be interested in playing the outfield as well.
That notion would be dismissed with most players, but in Otani’s case, it would make sense to at least give him a shot. He is a very powerful hitter, posting a 1.004 OPS in his final season in Japan. He has a good eye at the plate and hits for a high average and power, and adding that kind of bat to a lineup is a great bonus for a guy that also throws 100 MPH on the mound.
The Cubs are limited in terms of their bonus pool money, as they can only give Otani $300,000 in bonus money, but other teams are experiencing similar constraints, and that could open the door for the Cubs to make the highly-sought-after free agent a deal he can’t refuse.
-The Colorado Rockies are pursuing free agent reliever Wade Davis, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.
In his one season with the Cubs, Davis saved 32 games, a career high, and posted a 2.30 ERA in 59 appearances for the North Siders. He also struck out 79 hitters while only surrendering 39 hits in those appearances.
The Rockies have also spoken with the Baltimore Orioles about a trade for reliever Zach Britton, a move that the Cubs have also been tied to. The talented reliever was a prime trade candidate at the deadline last season, but the Orioles may be even more intent on moving him this offseason.
-One player that has been on the potential trade radar is outfielder Kyle Schwarber, as the Cubs look to address their glut of corner outfielders and their lack of cost-controlled starting pitching. The Jose Quintana deal definitely alleviated that problem to a degree, but the Cubs are still looking at other potential moves.
To his credit, Schwarber is working out to lose a bit of bulk in the offseason, trying to mold himself into more of a hitter than just a pure slugger. That could entice teams, especially American League clubs, to make offers for him, but National League teams in need of hitting help could go that direction as well.