Chicago Cubs Rumors: The Wackiest Stories We've Heard This Offseason
This was an offseason full of Cubs rumors lush with outlandish claims, ranging from Albert Pujols to Yu Darvish before the hot stove simmered and fans' expectations came back down to earth.
The theme of Cubs rumors since the Winter Meetings last month is certainly Matt Garza. The Cubs reportedly were in talks with numerous teams over him, but serious negotiations never materialized.
We heard everything before the Cubs started making moves. Most Cubs fans are really curious about how the new moves will pan out, but are at least optimistic about the future that once appeared grim.
Here's a look at the wackiest rumors we've heard this offseason.
Theo Epstein Spotted at a Chicago Starbucks
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When it was first reported that the Cubs were seeking permission to interview Theo Epstein, everyone had to think it was next to impossible that he would leave Boston. He had a solid franchise—not perfect, but certainly in a good position.
It was not until a report surface that a Cubs fan spotted Theo Epstein at a Starbucks just a few blocks south of Wrigley Field that people started believing in the possibility. It came days after the Cubs had in fact been given permission to talk with him, so unless an intuitive fan wanted to play a trick on everyone, odds are it was him.
The rumor did prove true, but the way it happened in the process of bringing him in as team president certainly makes for a good story.
You can see the report here.
Albert Pujols to the Cubs
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It really made sense when reports surfaced this offseason that the Cubs were going to go after Albert Pujols. He found success playing in Wrigley Field and has won two World Series, so the drive to go somewhere to win is not as important had he failed to win any in St. Louis.
Most media big shots pointed to the obvious when speculating that the Cubs were in on Pujols. The Cubs want a premium slugger to plug the middle of the order as they fight to win in the power-depleted NL-Central. It made sense, especially with so much money coming off the books.
ESPN.com even had a report up in early December that the Cubs made an offer to Pujols, an article that has since been changed.
The Cubs never legitimately considered Pujols in their plans.
Cubs Are Going After Prince Fielder
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Well, this one certainly got away from us.
The Cubs moves all offseason played away from a potential run at Prince Fielder, but it made too much sense for the Cubs to spend big and bring in the power-hitting lefty.
In hindsight, it makes sense that GM Jed Hoyer would pull off a trade with his Padres for Rizzo. He did practically the same thing in trading Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox, acquiring Casey Kelly and Anthony Rizzo with others. He brings his first major acquisition in Rizzo along with him to the Cubs.
Rizzo is expected to be the future for the Cubs at first, while Micah Hoffpauir 2.0, aka Bryan LaHair, fills the hole in the short-term. So with Rizzo and LaHair, the Cubs will likely sever any ties they have left with Boras on Fielder.
Matt Garza and the Rangers
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The Cubs and Rangers were reportedly in talks during the Winter Meetings over a trade that would send Matt Garza to the Rangers for Scott Feldman and prospects. The deal never materialized as the Rangers reportedly balked at the asking price.
It seems reporters all across baseball oversold the idea that the Cubs were close to dealing Matt Garza. The Cubs were merely shopping him around seeing the best offer they could get, which apparently never came.
The Cubs' asking price is very high for Garza, and rightfully so, as they could easily shop him for higher return at the trade deadline if he is healthy.
Don't think this is the last Garza rumor here; he was reportedly going everywhere before teams "balked" at the Cubs' asking price.
You can see the Garza-Rangers rumors here.
Matt Garza to the Yankees
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The Yankees were reportedly considering an offer that would send top prospect Jesus Montero to the Cubs for Matt Garza. It seemed like another speculative piece based on a report that the Yankees had interest in Matt Garza.
The Yankees never considered trading Montero, especially in a rather small package for Garza. It also appears the Cubs were never serious about trading Garza, but made him available and were looking for an overwhelming offer. Teams do that every offseason, some with more hype than others.
You can see that story here.
Cubs Making Strong Push for Yu Darvish
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The Cubs certainly bid for Yu Darvish this offseason, but their interest was blown way out of proportion. Pretty much every team's interest was blown out of proportion.
Both the Cubs and Yankees reportedly submitted bids under $25 million, while the Rangers doubled that bid to secure the stud right-hander.
Many people thought Epstein's interest in Pacific Rim scouting would have enticed him to make an aggressive offer, but he came in with a strict plan and goals to get the team moving in a new direction under a new philosophy.
He played all his moves close to the chest, disappointing few along the way (mostly Sean Marshall fans, but that's about it).
Here's the report on the Cubs and Darvish.
Kerry Wood Not Returning to Cubs
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Hopefully this one stays a rumor.
It seemed like a certainty that Kerry Wood would return to the Cubs. He wants to be here, he is still seeking a hometown discount, albeit a slight pay raise from the $1.5 million he accepted from the Cubs last season.
He is a Cubs fan favorite and has been for practically a decade. He has a foundation set up in Chicago and has a home in the area as well. He's already made it known that he wants to retire as a Cub, and he is a veteran mainstay that is very valuable in the bullpen. Losing him and Marshall would truly be devastating to the bullpen.
The longer the Cubs wait to re-sign him, the more teams begin checking in on him to see if he is interested in pitching elsewhere. Wood would be stupid not to listen, if not to hear what other teams have to offer as well as drive the price up a little bit.
Reports have surfaced that the Phillies are interested in him as a setup man for Jon Papelbon. I know, right? Most people assume he will return to the Cubs, but speculation that he will go elsewhere is creating a lot of stress on the home front.
Blue Jays and Cubs a Match for Garza?
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This is the last Garza one, I swear.
The amount of Garza trade rumors this offseason coupled with the fact we have not heard anything from Garza is a good sign of what kind of player he is for your franchise. Garza has been rumored to be going to Miami, New York, Boston, Toronto, the Rangers and just about anywhere else you can think.
The Blue Jays have a lot of depth and are close enough to competing seriously that a pitcher like Garza would give them that boost. Unfortunately for Jays fans, the Blue Jays have been one of the more disappointing teams this offseason. They came in with high expectations, primed to make a big move and add some fuel to the fire in the AL East.
They haven't done much of anything and weren't even close on the Garza front.
Cubs Trading Alfonso Soriano for Brian Roberts
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Oh no you don't Phil Rogers! You've played the Brian Roberts-to-the-Cubs card for too long. Put that one back in the archives, if Jim Hendry couldn't pry him away from Peter Angelos no one can.
The Cubs already have several options at second base and bringing on Roberts, who is coming back from a concussion, would only derail those young options.
That seems like something the old Cubs brass would do. When the Cubs brought in Carlos Silva from the Mariners, it was swapping the bad contract of Milton Bradley to do it. Roberts is a different kind of player, but he is past his prime when the Cubs have Darwin Barney and Blake DeWitt both looking to earn the starting position.
Trading Alfonso Soriano is a definite possibility. The Cubs are looking to start fresh and moving Soriano would certainly help with that transition, but moving Soriano for Roberts would slow the development of the Cubs' second base youth more than their young left field options by keeping Soriano.
If anything has been clear this offseason, the Cubs are moving payroll and looking for pitching.