Cubs News and Notes: Cubs at Winter Meetings, Darvish strikes again, Hot Stove, more
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Cubs News and Notes: Cubs at Winter Meetings, Darvish strikes again, Hot Stove, more

by - Columnist -

No big moves yet for the Cubs: Although I’m still convinced that the Cubs will be dealing at least one or two key players this winter, Theo Epstein announced that he was likely going to be leaving the Winter Meetings empty-handed via trades.

And if the cubs were to accomplish nothing significant this winter?

"Status quo is not a bad option, but we're obviously out there looking to make changes and change the dynamic and improve and grow." -Theo Epstein

Shogo Akiyama: According to Bruce Levine, who was quoting a source, the Cubs and two other clubs met with Japanese CF Shogo Akiyama. The Cubs feel that he offers both offensive and defensive attributes that have been missing from the Cubs’ lineups.

The Diamondbacks are now known to have met with him, and the Reds are also interested, though it’s not known if a meeting occurred.

Rizzo extension: Wednesday morning, Anthony Rizzo’s agent, Mark Pollack announced that Rizz wouldn’t be getting an extension this winter. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer replied, stating that the Cubs had some initial talks concerning Rizzo, but that the two sides were far apart.

"It's not the outcome they were looking for, and I understand there is some potential for hurt feelings, but it's not always going to be high fives and celebrations. We have a lot of work to do." -Theo Epstein on the announcement of Anthony Rizzo’s non-extension

It’s hard to imagine that the Cubs would be willing to part with Rizz, but the consensus is that the Cubs are looking to trade anyone who isn’t open to signing what may equate to a team-friendly extension. In fairness to Rizzo, he’s currently serving the final two years of one of the most team-friendly deals that I’ve ever seen – eight years at an average annual value of only $7,562,500.00. Rizzo has been anything but greedy during his career, and to be quite honest, if he ends up leaving, it was through no fault of his own. There is one bright spot- Rizzo is under team control for two more years.

Kris Bryant: If the market for Kris Bryant was waiting on Josh Donaldson and Anthony Rendon to sign, then the Cubs are another step closer to moving KB. Last night Joe Maddon got the news that Anthony Rendon will be on his roster next year, as the Angels inked him to a seven-year/$245M deal, with a full no-trade clause and no opt-outs.

With that, it shouldn’t take long for Donaldson to sign, clearing the way for the Cubs to move KB if they’re still serious about doing so.

No Merrifield: Dreaming of an announcement that Whit Merrifield has been traded to the Cubs? Forget it. It would appear that once again, the Royals only dangled the carrot.

Darvish strikes again: Yu Darvish was on Twitter again, this time trolling teammate, Victor Caratini. The man is a maniac – and I love every minute of it.

Rule 5 Draft: Per the Cubs Press release: “The Chicago Cubs today selected right-handed pitcher Trevor Megill from the San Diego Padres in the Major League portion (first round, ninth overall) of the Rule 5 Draft.

“Megill, 26, last season combined to go 2-2 with six saves and a 3.86 ERA (26 ER/60.2 IP) in 39 relief appearances, primarily with Triple-A El Paso along with stops at Double-A Amarillo and Single-A Lake Elsinore. He walked just 22 and struck out 87 batters, good for an average of 12.9 strikeouts per 9.0 innings while reaching the Triple-A level for the first time in his career.”

Baseball Quotes: “Chicks who dig home runs aren't the ones who appeal to me. I think there's sexiness in infield hits because they require technique. I'd rather impress the chicks with my technique than with my brute strength. -Ichiro Suzuki

MLB and the Hot Stove

NL Central News:

Brewers: Milwaukee has signed righty Josh Lindblom to a three-year/$9.125M deal, but he can max out at $18M with performance bonuses.

Josh Hader is drawing significant trade interest: Dodgers, Mets, and Yanks are in.

Cardinals: St. Louis is now reportedly showing interest in Hyun-Jin Ryu.

From the Rest of MLB:

Blue Jays: Toronto has reached a two-year/$24M deal with righty Tanner Roark.

Dodgers: LA has signed reliever Blake Treinen to a one-year/$10M deal. Now that they’ve missed the boat on Rendon, the Dodgers are reportedly engaging in trade talks for Nolan Arenado. Interesting that they’d want to assume that contract when Bryant would be so much cheaper. And why the sudden urge to find a third baseman when Justin Turner is available?

Rockies: Colorado has reached a three-year/$13M extension with reliever Scott Oberg. The deal includes an $8M club option for 2023. With incentives, Oberg could make as much as $15M over three years and $26M for four.

Angels: The Halos didn’t hire Joe Maddon so that they could finish 24 games out again this year. With this configuration, Joe may stand a good chance at being atop the AL West – especially if MLB decides to disallow garbage cans anywhere near the Astros’ dugout.

The fun for Maddon doesn’t stop there. The Halos are now showing interest in both Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, among others.

Nationals: Mike Rizzo says that he feels comfortable with his starting rotation depth and won’t be seeking any help, although finding relievers (and, of course, a third baseman) remains the team’s priority.

A’s: Oakland says that they’d be interested in bringing back SS Jed Lowrie, who departed to the Mets as a free agent just last season.

Mets: The Mets have signed RHP Rick Porcello to a one-year/$10M deal.

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