Cubs News and Notes: Adbert Alzolay in 2020, Cubs interested in Korean pitcher, Hot Stove

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Alzolay could be an important pitcher for the Cubs in 2020 (Kamil Krzaczynski - USA Today Sports)
Alzolay could be an important pitcher for the Cubs in 2020 (Kamil Krzaczynski - USA Today Sports)


Cubs: According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs have been tied to Korean LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim, who’s recently been posted by his Korean team. Now age 31, Kim has pitched in the KBO since 2007, having missed the 2017 season due to Tommy John.

The Padres bid $2M on Kim in 2018, but the two sides couldn’t reach a deal, leaving Kim to stay with his team in Korea (SK Wyverns). Kim is once again allowed to negotiate with all 30 teams, with a 30-day time limit to reach an agreement, which began yesterday.

Hoyer on Alzolay: As the Cubs continue to seek their fifth starter, Adbert Alzolay’s name has resurfaced as a possibility. While at the GM meetings this year, Jed Hoyer spoke about what, if any, role Alzolay may play in the majors this year.

“We’re unclear what role we’ll have him in … We’re totally comfortable with him [starting or working out of the pen].” -Jed Hoyer

Alzolay is still young, and in my opinion, far too inexperienced to grab that coveted fifth starter’s spot. His limited appearances in the majors last year weren’t nearly as impressive as most had hoped, with Alzolay posting a 7.30 ERA over 12.1 innings of work. His WHIP is currently hovering around 1.800, with a 6.6 walks per nine inning ratio and a less than desirable 2.9 home runs per nine innings average. The one positive from last year is that his strikeout to walk rate is 1.44.

Plenty of room for improvement, as Alzolay will just have turned 25 when the season begins, but there’s just no way I can see the Cubs being able to trust him as anything more than a guy who may be able to chew up some innings during blowouts – at least not yet.

Coaching the Cubs: Yesterday, the Cubs announced several coaching hires for the minor league system. (1) Casey Jacobsen: Coordinator of pitching development; (2) Doug Wiley: Pitching coach for the Rookie League Mesa; (3) Travis Fitta: Fourth coach for hitting and baseball development for the Eugene Emeralds; (4) Rachel Folden: Lead hitting lab tech and fourth coach for Rookie League Mesa; (5) Steven Polyakov: Dominican hitting analytics coordinator; (6) Dan Puente: Hitting coach for Single-AS South Bend; (7) Will Remillard: Fourth coach, hitting and baseball development for Double-A Tennessee and; (8) Will Skett: Fourth coach, hitting and baseball development for Single-A Myrtle Beach.

For the full rundown of the hires, including background information, check out the Cubs’ press release.

Cubs’ Birthdays Joe Nathan (44) and posthumously, Lew Burdette (93) and Dick Bartell (112).

Baseball Quotes: “I think baseball has such a way of humbling you. You can go 20-20, and before you know it, you're going through an 0-30. It was a way of knocking you back down to earth.” -Chipper Jones

MLB and the Hot Stove

NL Central Hot Stove:

Brewers: Brewers fans are livid that the team let Yasmani Grandal get snatched up by the White Sox yesterday. I read an article this morning about how the team could have afforded Grandal but had hopes of letting him walk, to be able to re-sign Mike Moustakas.

There’s only one problem: Moose is now also gaining considerable interest on the free-agent market.

Grandal’s signing may be problematic for Cubs’ fans, as Willson Contreras’ stock just went through the roof, but the same could hold true in some degree for Kris Bryant, once Moustakas gets picked up.

Reds: As the Reds continue to regroup for 2020, they’re reportedly showing serious interest in Mets’ ace, Zack Wheeler.

From the Rest of MLB:

Mariners: The Mariners and first-base prospect Evan White have agreed to a six-year, $24 million contract with three club options.

White Sox: After signing Yasmani Grandal on Thursday, the Sox have now paid another $50M to lock Jose Abreu into a three-year deal.

Diamondbacks: Reports from Phoenix say that the D-Backs are now open to trading lefty, Robby Ray.

Yankees: NY is reportedly withholding CF Jacoby Ellsbury’s 2020 salary (this makes the whole Kris Bryant service time grievance look weak).

Ellsbury is in the waning stages of a monstrous, seven-year, $153MM contract. Ellsbury is still owed $26,142,857 of that deal — his 2020 salary plus a $5MM buyout on his option for the 2021 season, but he may not receive all of that cash without a legal battle. Ironically, Ellsbury is another one of Scott Boras’ clients.

Ellsbury was injured, but received medical treatment (for two years), by what the team claims were non-approved, outside doctors.

“Any treatment a Player receives for a work-related Injury by a health care provider who is not affiliated with the Club must be authorized by the Club in advance of the treatment in accordance with Regulation 2 of the [Uniform Player’s Contract].” But that general rule does not necessarily leave us with a clear guide to the outcome of the dispute. – from the current CBA (Credit to Ken Rosenthal for digging up that little tidbit)

The MLBPA intends to act on Ellsbury’s behalf if the Yanks withhold any bit of his salary.

Phillies: Philly is reportedly pursuing Didi Gregorious; Joe Girardi managed Gregorious while he was with the Yanks.

Mets: NY has released RHO Drew Gagnon.

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