Latest Rumors: Cubs interested in adding leadership; Hyde a managerial candidate

Cubs v. Nationals

Player movement was dammed up in the early part of the offseason as teams mostly focused on positioning themselves for the large number of high profile stars on the free agent and trade market, but over the past week some of the sluice gates have been opened. And of course, to the surprise of no one familiar with the trade history of GM Jerry Dipoto, the Mariners have been at the center of the action.

They had already made a flurry of trades early on, the most significant sending starter James Paxton to the Yankees and catcher Mike Zunino to Tampa, but then came two big trades finalized in as many days. First one with the Mets centered around their elite closer Edwin Diaz attached to the final five years on Robinson Cano's potentially onerous contract. It is a move that should pay immediate dividends for the Mets, providing them the ability to shorten a game while also installing a much-needed big bat in the middle of their lineup. The Mariners then aided New York's division rivals in Philadelphia by sending two-time All-Star shortstop Jean Segura east, along with a pair of relievers with good peripherals but hard luck results last year.

Seattle still holds a potentially big trade chip in corner outfielder Mitch Haniger. Early reports stated Dipoto was not interested in moving the young star, but I always felt like that was a bit of necessary posturing in order to prevent teams attempting to extract him as part of a deal to get Cano off their books. Now that the Cano deal is out of the way, the team can field serious calls to gauge what a full return for their best asset would look like. It doesn't guarantee a deal will be made any time soon, but if a team was willing to pay a painful price I have no doubt Dipoto would be unable to resist.

As with every front line player available, the Cubs would certainly explore such a possibility, but I would call a deal for Haniger unlikely given the lack of high end prospects in the Cubs system. Any trade for him would likely require a top 10-ish prospect in all of baseball to act as the centerpiece.

Speaking of the Cubs exploring possibilities, they are expected to be a suitor for Bryce Harper, although no publications I have seen label the team among the front runners.

Ken Rosenthal discussed the interest the Cubs had in recent Atlanta signee Brian McCann. Given the relatively modest one year, two million dollar deal the veteran catcher signed I believe that McCann was simply interested in returning to his previous home, especially since the club is in the midst of a renaissance. It is very likely he left money on the table, be it from the Cubs or other potential suitors.

The most intriguing aspect of Rosenthal's musings is that the Cubs interest did not stem as much from the "veteran catcher" aspect as it did from the "fiery leader" type of personality McCann possesses. In Rosenthal's words McCann is:

"extremely likable, but edgy and demanding enough to draw the best out of his teammates. The Cubs need that kind of fire, perhaps even more than they did when Ross joined the team before the 2015 season."

He goes on to say that the Cubs are likely to pursue other players of this ilk, not limited to the catching position. He brings up Adam Jones as a possibility, but also dismisses it given the Cubs would be unlikely to guarantee the type of playing time Jones is seeking. I actually doubt being able to offer a full-time starter job is an issue, but would rather argue Jones's diminishing skills no longer warrant such gig, especially on a contending club. Jones posted the worst defensive metrics of his career in 2018 and his lowest HR total since his first full season in the bigs.

Rosenthal does not offer additional alternatives, but I'm sure others can chime in with ideas among the available players in the comments section. Andrew McCutchen and Michael Brantley are both well-respected leaders, but I wouldn't label either as "edgy and demanding."

In non-player related rumors it appears the Cubs Bench Coach Brandon Hyde is a candidate for the Orioles Managerial opening and is expected to receive an interview.


Hyde has been with Chicago since 2013 after spending time as the Bench Coach with Marlins, as well as a Manager in their Minor League system. He has drawn interest from teams with Managerial openings in each of the past two years.

We should continue to see some trade action leading up to the Winter Meetings which kick off later this week. It is at that point that many high-profile free agent agreements have been struck in years past, and I would expect at least one major signing announced before it ends. Also look for blockbuster trades, which could include stars like Paul Goldschimdt, Corey Kluber, Noah Syndergaard.

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  • I'm still a little mystified by the Torreyes deal. He's no Gleyber, but he seemed like a good backup at several positions who can put the ball in play. I'm guessing the Cubs want to keep that roster position open, maybe to add (or protect) someone in the upcoming Rule 5 draft?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    The deadline to add a player in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft has passed.

    I can't say exactly what the reasoning was, but there are several plausible scenarios. Look at the Torreyes deal as sort of a weird waiver claim. They had roster room, they added for a small monetary amount, and used it as an opportunity to see if he would be willing to accept a Minor League deal or to have a guy on hand prior to the non-tender deadline to see who else might become available. There also may have been trade discussions involving Russell that initially looked promising but then fell through and the team decided that with Russell still around that for the time being they didn't want to tie up a roster spot with Torreyes.

  • Thanks for the update Michael! Seattle is having quite the fire sale and moved two guys that woulda made great additions on the north side in Diaz & Segura. I’m wondering your thoughts on the return. Compared to what the Yankees got for Andrew Miller and Chapman or the White Sox haul for Adam Eaton I’m not super impressed with the Mairiners’ rebuild so far.

  • In reply to good4you:

    I was a fan of Kelenic in last year's draft. Think he can be a dynamic outfielder with an all-around game. He was a top ten pick for a reason but there is obviously risk with all prep players.

    I haven't seen J.P. Crawford in the past year, but I liked him as a prospect in previous years. He can play SS and he gets on base. There is still plenty of potential for growth with the bat as well.

    Diaz is obviously great, but never considered him an option for Cubs. You were either going to have to pay a gigantic price in prospects the Cubs couldn't afford or take on Cano's deal, which the Cubs probably shouldn't do.

    I'm honestly not a huge fan of Segura. He is solid ballplayer, but I don't think he is the difference maker some make him out to be. His contract is large enough that I don't think there is any excess value there. Probably paid what he is worth right now, so if there is any decline it could be a tough contract to move down the road.

  • Patrick corbin signs with the nationals!! strasburg,corbin and scherzer is a scary trio.

  • In reply to bolla:

    6 years and for more money than what darvish got.Exact amount not reported yet

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yeah but the nationals didn't even make the playoffs last year. Will this move get them there? Who knows.

  • In reply to John57:

    They underachieved last year. Injuries played a part. Their offense is still rock solid. They've upgraded at catcher with Gomes/Suzuki over Weiters. If they re-sign Harper they will be right with the Braves or even the favorites. Bullpen will play a big role.

    Braves are still super young. Some of that youth potentially plateaus or takes a step back in 2019. Progress isn't linear, as we know around here.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    If Phillies add Machado...
    Should be a fun, competitive division.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Are you surprised that Dave Martinez is still the Nats' manager?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    No. Unless a manager completely loses a team and there is what amounts to a mutiny you rarely see a manager ditched after one year.

  • In reply to bolla:

    The NL East is looking like a respectable division now, with 4 of the 5 teams all trying to be winners. That will really bury the Marlins and help their cause in getting another very high draft pick after the 2019 season. Jeter must be getting excited now.

    It's a great pickup for the Nats, but I really wonder if Corbin will give them the value for what they're paying. I know he's younger than Darvish, but now there's a lot of pressure on him to repeat what he finally achieved in his 6th season as an MLB pitcher.

  • Baseball Prospectus has a new metric, DRC+ (deserved runs created plus), which measures Schwarber as a better hitter than Baez in 2018.

    ...Who's going to tell bolla?

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Baseball Prospectus ! The Schwarb was 2 for twenty something with runners in scoring position ! Give me a break ! I'd like to know what idiot wrote this !

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I believe that we can now officially declare that "Baseball Prospectus has too many metrics ."

    :)

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I have a hard time getting behind a metric that "adjusts" for ballparks, weather, moon signs, star alignment and other factors, especially when it tells me Darwin Barney led the league in hitting... (disclaimer: that's a joke - nobody really said that Barney led the league in hitting...)

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I like baseball prospectus...
    But this metric also tells us Joey Gallo deserved more runs created than Javy Baez. So obviously there are some kinks somewhere in the algorithm.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I'd buy that

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    I'm actually starting to root for Harper to the White Sox. Imagine the publicity the city will get in the crosstown rival. Bryant vs Harper. That's a huge money maker for the next 4 years.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    I remember November 1996 when Sox Owner Jerry Reinsdorf shocked the baseball world by signing FA Albert Belle to a 5 year, $55M contract (at that time, the largest ever). That signing seemed to come out of nowhere!

    So, no, I would not be overly shocked if Bryce Harper was wearing the Pale Hose next year.

    As an aside, Albert's contract allowed him to declare Free Agency if his salary was no longer one of the top 3 in baseball. Two years later, Albert invoked that right and went on to top the list of answers to "What were the five worst contracts in Baltimore Orioles history?"

  • Now you’re starting to see a trickling of reports that the Cubs may just be in on Harper after all. To this I say, duh! Seriously I’ve never understood why anybody would dismiss this. He makes way too much sense and while the money will be tricky how much money do you think they’re making these days? Add that to the fact that Theo and Jed have both made casual comments about “no artificial spending limits” and to me it’s been impossible to believe that they won’t pursue him. I know many of y’all will argue with me and that’s OK you can make as good a case on the other side as I can on mine but for me the biggest parallel is before 2016 when all we heard was that the Cubs wouldn’t go over $130 mil and they went to $180. I truly believe that as if this minute there are only four teams Harper would choose to play for, Cubs, Dodgers, Yankees and maybe the Phillies if the money is truly “stupid” as their owner promised. Bryce Harper wants the bright lights and big city. He wants a stage to highlight his talent and to shove it down the throats of his detractors on ESPN every night. If you believe the White Sox, Padres or whatever flavor of the month actually have a shot at Harper I truly believe you’re misjudging who Harper is and what he is to the game. Now I’ll be honest if you were to ask me right now, this minute my best guess is that he’ll be a Dodger but I also believe the Cubs will be in on him up until the moment he inks a deal elsewhere and that’s called having a real shot.

  • In reply to TC154:

    TC, I am in total agreement with you. There is one thing Theo stated a while ago that I believe have defined him and have all signs pointed to making Harper the priority. And that is when he spoke about not paying for past performance while getting players during their peak. Given how brutal the offense was, a huge $50 million check being deposited from MLB, and our revenue streams at all time highs, there is. I way money is an issue here. To add Harper checks every single box that would be in play.

    If the Cubs are successful is another story. Just looking ahead I wonder if Harper were to sign with LAD, does Theo get in on Machado?

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    ***there is no way money is an issue***

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Money with the luxury tax is always an issue. Cubs will probably return with the same roster, minus Chavez, but I'd like to have Harper if the price is doable.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Money is always one of the primary issues when running a team.

  • In reply to TC154:

    My thinking has been that they want Harper, but probably need to move Heyward to make it happen. Not only is their strongest position the same place on the field, but Heyward's contract probably needs to move to make room for Bryce. I think the upcoming winter meetings will be very important for the FO to find a willing trade partner for JHey, who still has a lot of value. Sure, they will have to eat some salary methinks, but maybe not too much.

  • What about the Luxury Tax penalties?

  • "Heyman, Boras here. Just calling to let you know that the Cubs are definitely kicking the tires on Harper. He loves Chicago! Named his dog Wrigley. Is buds with Bryant."

    "So I can print their interest?" Heyman asks.

    "Yes. Just attribute as 'unnamed source.'"

  • fb_avatar

    Sorry guys, I'm gonna ramble a little here...Does anyone ever wonder why the Nats underachieved the last 2 years? I just wonder if that clubhouse had issues and maybe, just maybe we'd be bringing that issue to our clubhouse. I think we're missing a strong veteran voice like Rossy. I used to think Rizzo would be that guy. I'm not sure anymore. Don't get me wrong, Harper would sure look good to write in that lineup each day. There just seems to be lots of chess pieces to move before a simple "add Harper" to the Cubs would make sense.

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