We’re Already Two Weeks into the Offseason: What’s Happening?
Closing Out the GM Meetings
After a whirlwind of whispered conversations, strategic talks with agents, and trying to separate rumor from fact, the Cubs front office probably has a clearer vision of their offseason roadmap than they did three days ago.
Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein said he spoke with a variety of teams, but wouldn’t divulge anything of substance regarding what was discussed. General Manager Jed Hoyer, on the other hand, did admit that the club will probably need to look outside of the organization to fill the role of leadoff hitter, as no one on the current roster currently fits that description.
This past season, Jon Jay filled in admirably in that role as a part-timer, but seemed to struggle a bit when he was used as an everyday leadoff hitter. If the Cubs choose to alternate batters in that position — as they did in 2017 — re-signing the versatile outfielder is an option. The more likely scenario is acquiring a more prototypical leadoff hitter via free agency or trade.
Speaking of acquiring players, the Cubs’ desire to bolster the pitching staff is one of worst kept secrets in baseball. With that said, Rays starter Alex Cobb and Japanese star Shohei Otani are two throwers widely considered to be on the Cubs radar.
A trade for Orioles’ closer Zach Britton has been floated as a rumor, but don’t read too much into that yet. The asking price is sure to be steep, and the Cubs still have a shot as re-signing 2017 closer Wade Davis to a relatively team-friendly deal.
- Joe Maddon has lost yet another key member of his staff: former Cubs catcher Henry Blanco, who is leaving his post as quality control coach for a role on Dave Martinez’s new staff in Washington.
- Jed Hoyer emphatically shut the door on the Jason Heyward trade talk, saying the rumors had “zero base for truth.”
- Ever heard of pitcher Mike Mikolas? I hadn’t either. But our friends at Bleacher Nation have, and the right-handed pitcher who has spent the last three seasons in Japan’s NPB league piling up impressive stats might be on the Cubs’ wish list.