Latest news and rumors: Cubs pursuing infielder, latest on Machado, Harper, more

Latest news and rumors: Cubs pursuing infielder, latest on Machado, Harper, more

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Cubs’ news and notes

Cubs’ 2019 Opening Day: 104 days.

Cubs pursuing Descalso: According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are now “in strong pursuit” of free-agent utility infielder Daniel Descalso. While Descalso wouldn’t fill the void at shortstop with Russell suspended, it would be a temporary fix to Daniel Murphy’s departure. Baez is more than capable of playing shortstop during Russell’s absence, leaving Descalso to play either second or third, depending on how Bote and Zobrist get used.

Heyward rumors: There seems to be some talk going on that the Cubs and Giants are talking with regard to Jason Heyward. Unconfirmed at this point.

Bench coach search: Brandon Hyde has been officially announced as the Orioles’ new manager. Reports are saying that neither Mark DeRosa nor Davis Ross may be interested in the bench coach spot in Chicago. Dodgers’ special advisor, Raul Ibanez has been mentioned as a candidate, as have Cubs’ minor league managers Buddy Bailey and Mark Johnson.

Status quo for the Cubs: According to Patrick Mooney of The Athletic, “the team is close to maxing out” its 2019 baseball operations budget. Rather than acknowledge a need for any sort of augmentation to the roster, manager Joe Maddon suggested that the greater issue for the Cubs is to extract better performance from the talent already in house.”

I’m still not buying it. They have holes to fill, weak spots to shore up, and there’s undoubtedly going to be trades and signings, maybe not a Harper or a Machado, but they’ll undoubtedly get some brand-name help. While landing Descalso would be a step in the right direction, I think the Cubs will still go after more prominent names.

Latest news and rumors from around the league

London Series: MLB has announced the Yankees and Red Sox will compete in a two-game set in London, to be played on June 29th and 30th at London Stadium. Jackie Bradley, Jr. and CC Sabathia are currently in London promoting the series.

Bryce Harper: According to former Atlanta slugger, Dale Murphy, more teams should be looking at Bryce Harper. “Baseball needs more interesting people, and Bryce Harper is the most interesting player in the game. Everything he does is exciting, and more teams should be lining up to make a run at him.”

The latest rumor/speculation on Harper is that his next deal, wherever that may be, might include more opt-out clauses than actual contract years.

Manny Machado: Machado is set to meet with the Phillies next week, and there are also reports that he may meet with NY again as well while he’s on the east coast. Machado is also due to meet with the White Sox in Chicago, along with a fourth “mystery team” that for some reason, has been kept under wraps.

Angels: The Angels thought about Yasmani Grandal but are now said to be targeting Wilson Ramos to be their primary backstop in 2019.

Athletics: Catcher Bruce Maxwell is still out of a job after being outrighted by the A’s in September. After being arrested on a gun charge in 2017 (and subsequently pleading guilty to disorderly conduct), Maxwell also has the dubious distinction of being the only MLB player to ever kneel during the national anthem. Baseball has done well at avoiding the protests, and it would appear that owners don’t want to deal with Maxwell doing so. The A’s have been working to re-sign catcher Jonathan Lucroy but are at a “salary impasse.”

Cardinals: In addition to the Cubs, St. Louis also said to be pursuing Descalso.

Mariners: GM Jerry Dipoto was hospitalized Wednesday night in Las Vegas for “severe chest pain.” After all that wheeling and dealing Wednesday, reportedly from his hospital bed, don’t expect the Mariners to keep Encarnacion. Dipoto was released yesterday afternoon and was medically cleared to fly back to Seattle.

Nationals: Washington has been pursuing INF/OF Marwin Gonzalez but is now also showing interest in Pittsburgh’s Josh Bell, who is controllable through the 2022 season. Nationals also interested in Dallas Keuchel but are “leery of giving him the five or six-year deal he seeks.”

Padres: SD lands 2B Ian Kinsler on a two-year, $8M deal with a club-option.

Pirates: Pittsburgh acquires RHP Cristofer Melendez from the Padres for cash.

Rockies: Colorado acquires Royals’ Rule 5 draft pick, catcher Chris Rabago for cash.

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