Latest news and rumors: Cubs continue to add pitching, latest on Machado and more

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Kontos will add some organziational depth for the Cubs (Stan Stezo - USA Today Sports)
Kontos will add some organziational depth for the Cubs (Stan Stezo - USA Today Sports)

Cubs’ news and notes

Cubs’ Opening Day: 61 days. (March 28 vs. Rangers)

Pitchers/Catchers Report: 18 Days.

First Spring Training game: 29 Days. (Saturday, February 23, Brewers vs. Cubs at Sloan Park)

George Kontos: The Cubs have signed former Yankees reliever, George Kontos to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.

Junichi Tazawa: Cubs keep adding to their bullpen depth as they have signed former Marlin Junichi Tazawa to a minor league deal according to multiple reports.

The Ricketts: The Ricketts family purchased the final 5% of the Cubs franchise from the Chicago Tribune on Friday.

Lee Smith: According to the baseball Hall of Fame, the plaque in Cooperstown of former Cubs reliever, Lee Smith, will bear a Cubs emblem.

Latest news and rumors from around the league

JT Realmuto: According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, “The Realmuto talks are said to be gaining momentum, with the Dodgers and Padres believed most prominent in discussions at the moment. LA has the need and the young players to trade (Verdugo, etc.) and is logical. Reds, Braves, Astros among others with interest.

Astros: According to an MLB Trade Rumors article, Astros owner, Jim Crane, had the following to say about free-agents, Dallas Keuchel, and Marwin Gonzalez: “We’ve got a couple guys that were here last year that are a possibility to be back here [this] year. We hope that happens. Maybe something will work out… who knows?” https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/01/astros-owner-jim-crane-comments-free-agency-dallas-keuchel-marwin-gonzalez.html

Athletics: Oakland has announced that they have reached a one-year, $4M deal with free-agent righty, Marco Estrada.

Indians: Cleveland has re-signed lefty Oliver Perez to a one-year, $2.5M deal with a vesting option for 2020.

Padres: SD has now tossed their hat into the Manny Machado race, though it is unclear if they are the “mystery team” that everyone has heard so much about. The latest reports say that The Padres have expressed interest in arranging a meeting with Manny Machado, possibly in Miami. SD would like to get some face time before becoming more involved with the free agent. The Padres will also not rule out the possibility that they may make a run at Bryce Harper as well.

Rays: Tampa has agreed to sign former Pirates righty, Casey Sadler, to a minor league deal, which will include an invite to spring training.

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