David Kaplan was just on ESPN 1000 and gave some shape to the Cubs offseason. Many of what he mentioned meshes with the things we've heard here -- and as we've said in the past many times, Kaplan is as good as any reporter here in Chicago when it comes to accurate rumors. Good stuff here from ESPN 1000...
Here are some of the highlights along with some of my thoughts...
- He did not soundd optimistic on David Price and has learned that Price's first thought is not signing with the Cubs, but actually re-signing with the Blue Jays. The Jays, meanwhile, seem willing to pay what it takes to retain him. The speculation has been that the price tag would be $200M+ on the ace lefthander -- but Kaplan doesn't seem to think the Cubs will go that high -- nor does he think they should.
- The Cubs are interested in Jason Heyward but not at the $175M price tag that's out there. They think he can play CF and would bring him in if the price tag is about 5 years/$100M. That sounds light if you ask me and it would seem Heyward could easily garner more than that. We'll see, but I would love to have Heyward at that price -- I'd even go higher than that if that is what it takes.
- The Cubs are very much in on John Lackey and they know they'll have to give him 2 years -- maybe 3, which they would consider doing, even knowing that last year would probably be an overpay. They're hoping to get at least 2 good years and hope for the best in year 3.
- The Cubs are indeed interested in Jeff Samardzija but Kaplan notes that a lot of teams are, so it is not like they are going to get him at a bargain rate. He's going to get his market value, which is what he wanted all along. It's uncertain how high the Cubs would go but history shows they won't let the market dictate a cost beyond what they consider value.
- They are looking for a trade for a cost-controlled #2 type starter and Kaplan specifically mentions Carlos Carrasco, Shelby Miller, and Julio Teheran. With regard to the Braves, Kaplan says they are looking for young power hitters, so he specifically mentioned Jorge Soler and Javier Baez as possibilities. The Indians are looking for outfield help. We know they're set in the middle infield.
- The Cubs also seem to be willing to trade Starlin Castro -- and even include him in the same deal with Baez if necessary. I have to assume the Cubs still have faith in Tommy LaStella and/or Arismendy Alcantara if that is the case, though I guess we shouldn't rule out the Cubs adding a veteran stopgap 2B. They're also willing to trade Miguel Montero as they look to upgrade the catcher's position. I am not sure where that upgrade would come from, but the Cubs still think Kyle Schwarber has a chance to catch and Willson Contreras may start the season a phone call away at Iowa.
- The Cubs do want to extend Jake Arrieta but only at reasonable cost. They know they have him for at least 2 years, so they won't be pressed into an extension that doesn't make sense to them.
It brings things into focus a bit and it seems like the Cubs would like 2 pitchers -- a veteran like Lackey and then a Top 3 arm like Samardzija, Miller, Carrasco, or Teheran. If they add Heyward to that mix it would be a tremendous offseason to say the least, even if it doesn't include the much-coveted Price.
And as far as CF goes, if not Heyward then a new name I've heard a couple of times recently is the speedy, defensively oriented Ender Inciarte, who has excellent contact skills, but also isn't a perfect fit in terms of being a high OBP player at the top of the order.
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