Latest news and rumors: Harper projection to Cubs, Machado interest, and more

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Latest news and rumors: Harper projection to Cubs, Machado interest, and more

I’m not expecting a ton of news this weekend, as the winter meetings are set to kick off on Monday. Still, some noteworthy things are happening. For those who are as impatient as I am this time of year, hang in there, that crazy part of the off-season is about to begin.

Cubs’ news and notes

Cubs’ 2019 Opening Day: 110 days.

Valbuena/Castillo honored: Members of the Lara Cardinals (Cardenales de Lara) paid tribute to fallen teammates Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo. Players marched as they carried two (presumably empty) caskets in front of the fans at the stadium. The Cardinals’ twitter feed posted a tweet with the video which translated to: “Teammates, brothers, and idols. Louis Adam and Joseph, for the last time in this house. Simply thank you, from the depths of our hearts!”

More Harper hype: Baseball insider and MLB network’s Dan Plesac is predicting that Harper will wind up a Cub. He thinks it’ll come down to the Phillies and Cubs, with Chicago doing the signing. Plain and simple: I don’t see it.

Sharma: According to The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma, “Theo Epstein believes that improvement for the Cubs must come from within. And as the rest of the NL Central closes in on them, 2019 is shaping up to be a reckoning for a group that wants more than one ring on the north side of Chicago.”

I’ve speculated for some time that there was no cash-crunch in Chicago, and reports of such may have been nothing more than an attempt at fiscal responsibility. It looks like Jim Bowden of CBS Sports has a different take. "Theo Epstein knows this is a critical year for him. So even though he is downplaying spending any money, my understanding is, behind the scenes, he is working diligently, and he has said he is going to get another professional hitter for that lineup."

Dennis Eckersley: Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley opens up his life for fans in “Eck: A Story of Saving,” a one-hour documentary that will premiere on MLB Network on Thursday, Dec. 13 at 8:00 PM, eastern.

Manny Machado's interest around the majors: It appears as many as six teams are in the mix for the talented shortstop and it will be discussed in-depth at the upcoming Winter Meetings according to MLB insider Ken Rosenthal.

Latest news and rumors from around the league

Baseball in Vegas? According to a tweet by Bruce Levine of 670 The Score, “Sox broadcaster Steve Stone and Local business legend Lou Weisbach are looking to bring MLB to Las Vegas.” The tweet went into no further detail.

Braves: Atlanta has agreed to a minor league deal with former Phillies infielder, Andres Blanco. Blanco had no MLB time in 2018 but has a chance at an $850k salary next season if he can earn a roster spot.

Dodgers: LA has announced that it will not seek a replacement during this off-season for recently departed GM Farhan Zaidi. President of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman, will continue to make all decisions until the position is filled. Zaidi left to become the president of baseball operations in SF.

Giants: SF has signed former Phillies backstop Cameron Rupp to a minor league deal, with an invite to spring training. Rupp spent time in Philly from 2013-2017 but failed to see any MLB time last season.

Mariners: Seattle GM, Jerry Dipoto, continues to clean house but has announced RF Mitch Hanniger and RHP Felix Hernandez won’t be going anywhere. Fancred’s Jon Heyman suggests the next to be dealt could include INF Ryon Healy, INF Carlos Santana, RF Jay Bruce, RHP Anthony Swarzak and RHP Mike Leake. Meanwhile, Seattle has signed veteran lefty, Tommy Milone to a minor league deal, in hopes Milone can resurrect his pro career.

Padres: SD has announced that it has designated second-baseman, Carlos Asuaje for assignment to make a roster spot for newly acquired RHP, Garrett Richards.

Rays: Tampa is apparently in pursuit of Charlie Morton, Reports say there have been several sets of conversations between the team and Morton’s representatives.

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