By Thomas Gibbons
After a crazy week in San Diego at the Winter Meetings, the baseball news has slowed a bit. While the Cubs were not active members last week, it does not mean they could be in the coming weeks.
Let’s dig into the latest rumors surrounding the Cubs.
The Cubs and Yankees have had discussions about Kyle Schwarber.
On Monday, Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported that the Cubs and Yankees have had trade conversations about Schwarber. Hitting 38 home runs last season, Schwarber is still widely considered a great fit for the American League. Here is the blurb from Rosenthal’s post:
The Yankees’ interest in Schwarber is not new; they have been talking to the Cubs about him since at least 2016, sources said. The nature of the latest conversations also is not new. The teams are talking, yes, but again that’s all it is — talk.
Theo Epstein loves Schwarber and it still seems unlikely they part with him unless they are really blown away with an offer. The Cubs really need young starting pitching and Schwarber could net you one or two solid prospects. The obvious negative would be losing that power bat in your lineup.
If the Yankees truly want him, there has been plenty of interest, they will have to blow Epstein away with an offer. I still do not see Epstein moving on from his guy, but the Cubs desperately need young arms and Schwarber can get you that. Do not be surprised if this rumor pops up again this offseason
Nick Castellanos is still on the radar
Sahadev Sharma, who covers the Cubs for the Athletic Chicago, wrote Wednesday morning that Nicholas Castellanos is still on the Cubs radar and both sides are interested in a reunion. However, money continues to be an issue because of the Cubs money restrictions.
Castellanos quickly became a fan favorite with the Wrigley faithful. His 16 homers and an OPS over a 1.000 brought a lot of production to the Cubs lineup is a short amount of time.
A lot of teams have been connected to Castellanos in recent weeks including the Giants, Reds, White Sox, and Rangers. He is looking for the right fit and Sharma expanded on that.
Money matters, but all things being (nearly) equal, Castellanos is searching for a team ready to embrace him as a potential leader and one that is committed to building a winning culture. In his discussions with various organizations, Castellanos sees the Giants, Rangers and Cubs as three teams who value him for more than just his offense and that treat “clubhouse culture” as more than just T-shirts and talking points.
The Cubs need production for their outfield. Jason Heyward has significantly under performed for the duration he has been in Chicago. Ian Happ and Albert Almora have had flashes but lack consistency. Schwarber and Castellanos were their best and who knows what the lineup would have been like without them. Castellanos was more than just a rental. His approach and like-ability echoed with the players, management, and the fan base. Just ask Epstein.
“Man, I love everything about Nick Castellanos,” Theo Epstein said after the season. “What a job he did coming in. I don’t think you can ask more of an in-season trade acquisition than what he did. The production, the consistency, the dynamic at-bats that he had and then the way he went about it — just with a lot of passion, a lot of professionalism, a lot of hard work, a team-oriented approach. Really became invested in the Cubs and his teammates in a short period of time.”
The Cubs have to come up with some money if they want Castellanos back. Along with their discussions, the Cubs payroll is something to watch in the coming weeks.