MLB Trade Rumors published their Free Agent Predictions and the Cubs were predictably upgrading their pitching staff, including nabbing top overall free agent Yu Darvish on a 6 year, $160M deal that would make nauseous if they actually did. MLBTR also has the Cubs signing relievers Addison Reed (4 years. $36M) and Jake McGee (3 years, $18M), both of whom I can see being targets, especially if Reed were willing to take a setup role (which is probably unlikely). I would actually be fine if the Cubs brought back some of their own free agents at the prices MLBTR predicted, with Jake Arrieta getting 4 years and $100M from the Brewers (uh.....) and Wade Davis at 4 years, $60M from the Astros.
The Cubs added a formerly promising left-hander this week by claiming LHP Randy Rosario off waivers from the Twins. The 23 year-old Rosario made his major league debut this summer, allowing 8 ERs in 2.1 innings, but also has a fastball reaching the mid-90's and ranked among the Twins top 30 prospects in recent years. Rosario also made 32 appearances at AA in 2017 and looked impressive before fading in August. The Cubs 40 man roster is at 33 with the move.
Bruce Levine previews the Cubs free agency plans and notes that the team's priority is to "add two starters and three relievers" this winter. Levine predicts that the Cubs will be suitors for Arrieta and then runs through the usual targets such as Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn and Brandon Morrow. One name that Levine mentions that is intriguing to me was former Cub Andrew Cashner who could be a weapon out of the bullpen as a multi-inning shutdown guy like a less good Andrew Miller.
ESPN published their "Way Too Early 2018 Power Rankings" this week with the Cubs coming in at #8. Though honestly the whole exercise is more than a little ridiculous considering how much every team's roster will change before next season.
Carrie Muskat profiled Cubs prospect Adbert Alzolay this week as the 22 year-old right hander is wrapping up his first trip to the Arizona Fall League by making the league's Fall Stars team. "If he reaches his potential, he will someday be one of the five [starters], and closer to [No. 1] than five," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said of Alzolay. "He's an exciting, young kid with high character and electric stuff. He's got a great starter kit and will pitch at the upper levels of the farm system next year."
The Cubs continued the tradition of the previous World Series champions sending pizza to the new champs by sending the Astros 200 pizzas.
Not The Cubs Notes
One pitcher who will not be on the Cubs' radar this winter is SP Masahiro Tanka who chose not to opt out of his contract with the Yankees. Tanaka had until today to opt out of the remaining three years and $67M on his contract. The 29 year-old right-hander is coming off a sub-par 2017 season and is also dealing with a small tear in the UCL in his pitching elbow, both of which could have limited his earning potential in free agency.
The Marlins are expected to be busy on the trade market this winter as they attempt to slash payroll, so Miami has informed other teams of their willingness to deal Giancarlo Stanton, Martin Prado and Dee Gordon. The team is reportedly not interested in trading outfielders Christian Yellich or Marcell Ozuna.
Miami also declined the 2018 option on OF Ichiro Suzuki, though the 44 year-old has plans to play again next season. Personally I am pulling for Ichiro to keep playing as he is one of the few remaining major leaguers who is older than I am.
The White Sox declined their 2018 option on former Cubs catcher Geo Soto, making him a free agent.
Old friend Tony LaRussa joined the Red Sox this week as a special assistant to the GM and instinctively made three pitching changes in four batter span.
Nationals catcher Matt Weiters plans to exercise his $10.5M option for next season. Well, yeah.
The Royals are expected to make Qualifying Offers to three of their pending free agents - 1B Eric Hosmer, 3B Mike Moustakas and OF Lorenzo Cain. Hosmer is expected to draw heavy interest from the Red Sox who are still looking to replace the offense they lost when David Ortiz retired last winter, while Moustakas is seen as a target of the Angels.
The Braves are still holding out hope for a reunion with Dayton Moore to take over their front office, though the Royals have so far denied Moore permission to interview with his former team. If Atlanta is not able to land Moore, their rumored backup options include former Cubs GM Jim Hendry and former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos.
The Orioles declined the 2018 options on SS J.J. Hardy and LHP Wade Miley, making both free agents. Miley is still just 31 and was not completely awful as recently as 2015, so he could make an interesting rotation signing for some team or a huge disappointment for a team that is counting on him in the rotation.
It probably won't be as wonderfully awkward as three Cubs performing at a bachelorette party, but the new World Champion Astros will be represented on Saturday Night Live tonight by Jose Altuve, George Springer and Alex Bregman.
Starting over pic.twitter.com/luz43QsTns
— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) November 2, 2017
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