Latest news and rumors: Happy Birthday to KB, No offer from Cubs to Harper, and more

by - Columnist -
Jeff Curry - USA Today Sports
Jeff Curry - USA Today Sports

Cubs’ news and notes

Cubs’ Opening Day: 83 days.

Pitchers/Catchers Report: 38 Days.

First Spring Training game: 51 Days. (Saturday, February 23, Brewers vs. Cubs at Sloan Park)

Mark Loretta: During a recent Sirius-XM Radio interview, the Cubs’ new bench coach had this to say about his new job and new boss: “The attraction to being a bench coach under a really experienced manager like Joe, is really valuable. That was a big part of the decision for me.”

Missed opportunity: According to NY sports-writer, Andy Martino, “So it turns out the Cubs wanted Tulowitzki to be their starting shortstop, per sources. So did the Pirates. 14 other teams were on him.”

I’m not sure what swayed Tulo to NY and away from the Cubs, especially when any team was only going to pay him league-minimum, but this was a tremendous, missed opportunity for Chicago. Baez is still without any experienced backup at shortstop until at least May 3rd when Russell completes his suspension, and while there are still quality shortstops available, the Cubs have yet to be linked to any of them.

There is some speculation that the Yanks may be anticipating not signing Machado and may have plans to make Tulowitzki their starting shortstop.

MLB Trade Rumors: According to MLBTR, “The Cubs are keeping tabs, but it doesn’t appear as they’ve made an offer to Harper."

Birthday wishes: Happy birthday to Kris Bryant. The Cubs’ third-baseman turns 27 today.

Latest news and rumors from around the league

Brewers: Milwaukee has signed INF/OF Cory Spangenberg to a one-year deal.

Blue Jays: Toronto has traded RHP Oliver Drake to the Rays for cash considerations.

Mets: The Mets have been busy. They have now been linked to former Cubs’ reliever, Justin Wilson, as they continue their search for pitching. NY has also signed former White Sox outfielder, Rymer Liriano, and former Seattle reliever, Arquimedes Caminero to minor league deals, both with invites to spring training.

Also, the Mets also have interest in former Cubs’ righty, Adam Warren, and have already signed former Cubs’ reliever, Casey Coleman to a minor league deal. Coleman’s contract includes an option and buyout clause for both Korea and Japan. Coleman spent this winter pitching for the Tomateros de Culiacan in Mexican Winter League.

Nationals: Reports are now saying the Nationals have increased their offer to Harper, meaning that it would exceed the original ten-year, $300M qualifying offer.

Phillies: After acquiring McCutchen, Segura and now Robertson, the Phillies primary focus shifts almost entirely on signing Harper and Machado.

Pirates: Pittsburgh has signed LHP Tyler Lyons, RHP Roberto Gomez, OF Patrick Kivlehan and catcher Steven Baron to minor league deals, all with invites to spring training.

Rangers: The Rangers have claimed former Cubs’ pitcher, Luke Farrell off waivers from the Angels. The Angels placed him on waivers him last week to clear a roster spot for Jonathan Lucroy. Texas has also signed RHP Adrian Sampson and RHP Rafael Montero to minor league deals, both with invites to spring training.

Rays: Following their acquisition of RHP Oliver Drake from the Blue Jays, Tampa has designated RHP Jaime Schultz for assignment.

White Sox: Although just a month ago the Sox were considered the least likely to land either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, reports now describe the South-Siders as being “strongly connected” to Machado. Recent reports say the Sox weren’t willing to go more than seven years for either player and while Harper has received decade-long offers, Machado has not.

Yankees: NY has designated RHP AJ Cole for assignment to open a roster spot for the newly acquired shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki.

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