The Winter Meetings are going strong in Florida, and although there hasn’t been as much action as there has been in recent years, the Chicago Cubs are one of the most active teams in the market.
The team has already made a pair of signings official, inking Drew Smyly and Brandon Morrow to two-year contracts. They have also been linked with a few other potential moves as well, and there are a lot of moving parts as Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer look to bolster the team’s roster.
Here are the latest rumors coming out of Walt Disney World.
-Cubs pitcher Mike Montgomery has been a key member of the team for the last two seasons, as his ability to pitch out of the bullpen or rotation has been exploited effectively by Joe Maddon.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, Montgomery may have visions of something even bigger in his mind. According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Montgomery would like a chance to jump into the team’s rotation, or else he would like to go somewhere else to get that chance.
Rosenthal says that Montgomery has told the Cubs about his desire to start, but not about his desire to potentially be traded if they don’t agree to that request.
Montgomery had a 3.38 ERA in 44 games with the Cubs last season. He started 14 games as well, showing off some serious versatility as the Cubs shuffled him between the rotation and the bullpen due to injuries and resting of other starters.
If Montgomery ends up on the trading block, plenty of teams should be interested in his services. He is under team control through the end of the 2021 season, and he likely won’t get a big raise for at least the next two seasons, meaning that some smaller market clubs could jump at the opportunity to acquire a pitcher with starting upside.
That being said, Montgomery could very well get a chance to get into the rotation. Tyler Chatwood has a strong case to be in the mix for a rotation spot next spring, but pitchers like Drew Smyly won't be in the mix at least early on, so that could open a role up for Montgomery.
-One of the big names that could potentially end up on the trade market is Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who will be a free agent at the end of the 2018 season and has expressed a desire to shift to shortstop.
That move to shortstop could be an enticement to the Cubs if they are looking for an offensive upgrade at the position, but according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Cubs aren’t one of the teams that has come out strong for his services.
That could change, according to Crasnick, and it would likely mean that either Addison Russell or Javier Baez would be on the trading block if they wanted to move in that direction, but it’s one more intriguing big-name player that has been linked to the Cubs at least in passing.