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Chicago Cubs Offseason Tracker: Hottest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

Kyle NewportFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 7, 2017

Chicago Cubs Offseason Tracker: Hottest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

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    The Chicago Cubs will go into another offseason looking to continue rebuilding the team, which means it could be a busy winter in the Windy City.

    While a few key pieces are locked up, the team does have a couple of free agents who would be good players to bring back. Closer Kevin Gregg and catcher Dioner Navarro did well this year, but it's unknown as to what the future holds for either of them.

    The Cubs named Rick Renteria manager, so now the focus will shift to improving the roster.

    After signing pitcher Edwin Jackson to a big deal last year, the team will be more cautious when handing out contracts this winter.

    The team had strong starting pitching, but the bullpen—outside of Gregg and Blake Parker—was a mess.

    Chicago has many needs this offseason. It is time for the club to bring in free agents to help get the team back to winning. There could be some action going on in Chicago this offseason, and fans could have a hard team keeping up. Everything that goes on with the Cubs will be right here and updated multiple times per day, so stay tuned throughout the winter.  

Chicago's Own Free Agents and Done Deals

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    Done Deals

    Oct. 8: OF Ryan Sweeney signed 2-year, $3.5 million contract, via Bob Nightengale of USA Today

    Nov. 26: Acquired C George Kottaras from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for cashDec. 2: Signed a one-year, $1.075 million deal plus incentives

    Dec. 4: LHP Wesley Wright signed a one-year, $1.425 million contract, via USA Today's Bob Nightengale

    Dec. 12: Acquired OF Justin Ruggiano from the Miami Marlins in exchange for OF Brian Bogusevic, according to @MarlinsMedia via Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel  

    Dec. 13: Claimed RHP Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Minnesota Twins

    Dec. 17: RHP Jose Veras signed a one-year, $4 million deal with a $5.5 million club option for 2015

     

    Free Agents

    RHP Scott Baker (Age 32)

    2013 stats: 3 GS, 15 IP, 0-0, 3.60 ERA, 9 H, 3 HR, 6 K/4 BB

    RHP Kevin Gregg (Age 35)

    2013 stats: 62 G, 62 IP, 2-6, 33 SV, 3.48 ERA, 53 H, 6 HR, 56 K/32 BB

    RHP Matt Guerrier (Age 35)

    2013 stats (with Cubs): 15 G, 12.2 IP, 2-1, 2.13 ERA, 11 H, 9 K/5 BB

    C Dioner Navarro (Dec. 2: Agreed to a two-year, $8 million deal, via FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal)

     

Arbitration Eligible Players

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Tendered

    2B Darwin Barney

    C George Kottaras (Dec. 2: Signed a one-year deal worth $1.075 million plus incentives, via CBS Sports' Jon Heyman)

    3B Donnie Murphy (Dec. 2: Signed a one-year, $825,000 deal, via MLB.com's Carrie Muskat)

    LHP James Russell

    RHP Jeff Samardzija

    RF Nate Schierholtz

    RHP Pedro Strop

    3B Luis Valbuena

    LHP Travis Wood

     

    Non-tendered

    RHP Daniel Bard, via WEEI.com's Rob Bradford

    1B Mat Gamel, via MLBDailyDish.com's Chris Cotillo

    RHP Chang-Yong Lim

Dec. 17: RHP Jose Veras Signed a One-Year Deal with the Chicago Cubs

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    David Banks/Getty Images

    Reliever Jose Veras has signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Cubs, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com. The deal includes a $5.5 million club option for 2015.

    With Kevin Gregg testing the market, the Cubs decided to look elsewhere for a closer. They found one in the right-hander.

    Veras had 21 saves between the Astros and the Detroit Tigers last season. He has 26 saves in his eight-year career.

    He posted a 3.02 ERA and a 1.069 WHIP with 21 saves, in 25 chances, between the Houston Astros and the Detroit Tigers in 2013. The veteran struck out 60 batters and walked only 22 in 62.2 innings. He has a career 3.84 ERA and 1.310 WHIP in 394 career appearances.

    Veras held right-handers to a .164 average and left-handers to a .233 average, so he is a strong option to be a closer.

    He has played for seven different teams since the start of the 2009 season.

    The 33-year-old gives the Cubs a new closer who had some success closing games this past season. Veras doesn't have a ton of experience closing, but he did a good job in his first full-time closing job in 2013.

     

Jeff Samardzija: Eligible for Arbitration, Extension/Trade Candidate

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    Brian Kersey/Getty Images

    Chicago had a strong rotation in 2013 even though Jeff Samardzija took a small step back. 

    The right-hander finished the year 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA. He did strike out 214 batters in 213.2 innings, so he showed that he can be a workhorse.

     

    *Update: Thursday, Dec. 12 at 10:30 p.m. ET

    The Cubs are indeed asking the Blue Jays for right-handers Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman in exchange for Samardzija, says the Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott. However, the Cubs would also like the Blue Jays to throw in another prospect.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 6:32 p.m. ET

    FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that Wednesday's meeting between the Cubs and Samardzija's reps was "amicable." No extension came from it, and a trade is still a possibility.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 3:10 p.m. ET

    FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Toronto Blue Jays have inquired about Samardzija, but they believe that the asking price is too high. The Blue Jays were reportedly asked about RHP Aaron Sanchez and RHP Marcus Stroman.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 9:07 a.m. ET

    The New York Post's Joel Sherman tweeted that Samardzija is "not anxious to commit long-term" to the Cubs. He doesn't know when the Cubs will be ready to contend.

    Also, a meeting with Samardzija's agents could show that the Cubs aren't getting the type of offers that they envisioned. They keep him and trade him in July if he still hasn't signed an extension.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 10:58 p.m. ET

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported that the Cubs will meet with Samardzija's agent on Wednesday. An offer isn't expected, and an extension is still seen as unlikely.

    Now that the Arizona Diamondbacks traded away young talent for Mark Trumbo earlier in the day, they are unlikely to land Samardzija.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Monday, Dec. 9 at 11:39 p.m. ET

    The New York Post's Joel Sherman reported that the Yankees are unlikely to be able to acquire Samardzija. The Cubs are looking for pitching prospects, which is something the Yankees don't have.

    “The Yankees have no upper-level talent,” a Cubs executive told Sherman.

    New York has plenty of outfield depth, but the Cubs are looking to rebuild, not get aging veterans.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Monday, Dec. 9 at 4:21 p.m. ET

    MLB.com's Mark Bowman tweeted that the odds of Samardzija landing in Atlanta are "pretty slim."

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Monday, Dec. 9 at 10:33 a.m. ET

    Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com tweeted that the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees are now among the group of teams interested in Samardzija. 

    The Yankees have been very active this offseason, and they are still looking to add a starting pitcher. They could look to move one of their extra outfielders, such as Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki or Vernon Wells, in order to get a starting pitcher.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 4:38 p.m. ET

    ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported that the Cubs will do "serious listening" at the winter meetings next week on teams interested in Samardzija. 

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 8:08 p.m. ET

    A major league source believes that Samardzija will not be wearing a Cubs uniform next season, according to CSNChicago.com's David Kaplan. Here's what the source had to say:

    I don't see him throwing another pitch in a Cubs uniform. I think it's 99 percent that he gets moved. They're not ready to win and he brings you the young pitching you need for the future.

    At least eight teams have shown interest in the right-hander, and the Toronto Blue Jays, the Baltimore Orioles and the Arizona Diamondbacks appear to be the front-runners.

    Samardzija is a good trade candidate for a few reasons. He is under club control for two more years, has no injury history and is good in the clubhouse.

    The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo tweeted that the Cubs are still trying to sign Samardzija to an extension despite the trade rumors. 

     

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Saturday, Nov. 23 at 7:11 p.m. ET

    ESPN Chicago Bruce Levine reported that teams that have inquired about Samardzija. The Toronto Blue Jays are putting together a package of young players in order to make a run at the starter.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Friday, Nov. 15 at 9:42 p.m. ET

    CSNChicago.com's David Kaplan tweeted that Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said that the club has talked to Samardzija about an extension.

    The Cubs like him and want to keep him, and they like hearing that he wants to stay.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Thursday, Nov. 14 at 1:04 a.m. ET

    John Perrotto of Timesonline.com reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates are interested in Samardzija. The Pirates are waiting to hear what A.J. Burnett decides to do. The veteran is contemplating retirement, so the Pirates could be in the market for a starting pitcher to replace him.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 11:45 p.m. ET

    Another team has emerged as a possible landing spot for Samardzija: the Toronto Blue Jays. Sportsnet's Shi Davidi reported that the Blue Jays are expected to make a run at Samardzija.

    The Blue Jays were aggressive last offseason, so they aren't afraid to pull the trigger on a big deal. In the American League East, it's important to upgrade as much as possible. It's not clear what the Cubs plan to do with the right-hander, but Toronto is interested.

     

    *Update: Monday, Nov. 11 at 9:45 a.m. ET

    The Washington Nationals are expected to discuss a possible trade for Samardzija, according to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post.

    Washington is looking to improve its rotation and has been linked to Detroit's Max Scherzer and Tampa Bay's David Price. Samardzija would be a much cheaper option than either of the last two American League Cy Young award winners.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 4:30 p.m. ET

    ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine tweeted out on Tuesday that there is nothing going on between the Cubs and the Diamondbacks. The teams did talk about a deal involving Samardzija in July.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Nov. 4 at 7:25 p.m. ET

    ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that the Cubs are talking to the Arizona Diamondbacks about a possible trade involving Samardzija. 

    It doesn't appear that the Cubs will sign him to an extension, so they are exploring the possibility of trading him.

    ---End of update---

     

    Samardzija has shown a lot of promise through the first six seasons of his career, and he has made a nice transition to the rotation the last two years.

    Now it is time for the Cubs to start thinking about the future as they continue to rebuild. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times believes that an extension for Samardzija is unlikely to happen this offseason.

    The Cubs could try to give the 28-year-old a contract to cover the rest of his arbitration years and perhaps beyond that. If they choose not to extend him, it could turn out to be a costly decision if the pitcher continues to improve.

    Samardzija has a talented arm, but the Cubs have other areas to address right now.

Dec. 12: Acquired Justin Ruggiano from the Miami Marlins for Brian Bogusevic

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    Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

    The Chicago Cubs traded outfielder Brian Bogusevic to the Miami Marlins in exchange for outfielder Justin Ruggiano, according to @MarlinsMedia via Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.

    Bogusevic hit .273/.323/.462 with six home runs, seven doubles and a triple. He has a career slash line of .236/.313/.370. 

    The 29-year-old has played each of the three outfield positions

    Ruggiano hit a disappointing 2013 season. The 31-year-old hit 18 home runs and 18 doubles, but he hit only .222/.298/.396. In 2012, he hit .313/.374/.535 with 13 homers and 23 doubles. It looked like he was going to be a very good all-around player on offense. Unfortunately he couldn't keep his average up this past season.

    He is eligible for arbitration for the first time, so he is still controllable. Ruggiano has played each of the three outfield positions, but he has spent the majority of the time in center.

Jason Hammel: Free Agent Target

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    The Cubs are reportedly interested in Jason Hammel, according to FOX Sports' Jon Morosi.

    Hammel went 7-8 with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.457 WHIP in 26 games, including 23 starts, with the Baltimore Orioles in 2013.

    The right-hander posted a 3.43 ERA and a 1.237 WHIP in 2012, which was the best season of his career.

    Other than 2012, Hammel has struggled to put up strong numbers. The 31-year-old has a career 4.80 ERA and a 1.440 WHIP. Other than the 2012 season, he has never had an earned run average below 4.30 in his eight-year career. 

    Chicago has a strong rotation, so it seems like an odd target for the team to have.

Can the Cubs Pry a Reliever Away from the Nationals?

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    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    The Cubs are looking at the Nationals' Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, according to the Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer.

     

    *Update: Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 11:43 a.m. ET

    Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post tweeted that talks between the Cubs and the Nationals involving Storen and Clippard are "dead." Washington has received a lot of interest on the two relievers and would have to be blown away by an offer, via Kilgore.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 10:14 a.m. ET

    FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the Cubs are more likely to acquire relievers in free agency rather than trade. Also, if it's a one-year deal, the team could turn around and trade the reliever(s) in July.

    ---End of update---

     

    Storen may be an attainable piece after having a down season. The 26-year-old posted a 4.52 ERA and a 1.362 WHIP in 2013. Before this past season, his ERA and WHIP dropped in each of his first three seasons. 

    On the other side, Clippard bounced back nicely this year. He had a 2.41 ERA and a 0.859 WHIP, both of which were among the best numbers of his career. He struck out 73 batters in 71 innings.

    In 2011, he joined Storen to be a formidable force in the bullpen. Clippard posted a 1.83 ERA and a 0.838 WHIP and made the All-Star team that season. He saw his numbers rise a bit as the team's closer in 2012, but he still had strong numbers.

    Both are right-handed pitchers.

    The Cubs are looking for a closer. Storen had 43 saves in 2011, and Clippard had 32 in 2012. Both pitchers have the stuff to be dominant closers, which might explain why the Cubs are interested in them.

     

Nov. 26: Acquired C George Kottaras from the Kansas City Royals

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    Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

    The Chicago Cubs have acquired catcher George Kottaras from the Kansas City Royals, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Cubs gave the Royal cash, via Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.

    *Update: Monday, Dec. 2 at 7:33 p.m. ET

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported that Kottaras has signed a one-year deal worth $1.075 million plus incentives.

    ---End of update---

    The left-handed hitter had a slash line of .180/.349/.370 in 2013. He added five home runs, four doubles and 12 RBI in 46 games with the Royals. The 30-year-old has a career slash line of .214/.324/.406 in six seasons.

    Kottaras is now on his fourth team since the start of the 2012 season. Kansas City designated Kottaras for assignment last week, and the Cubs decided he'd be a good fit in Chicago.

    The Cubs were looking for a backup catcher as Dioner Navarro will get a nice raise in free agency, and Kottaras will likely serve as the team's backup catcher next season.

Dec. 2: C Dioner Navarro Agreed to a Two-Year Deal with the Toronto Blue Jays

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    David Banks/Getty Images

    *Update: Monday, Dec. 2 at 10:05 a.m. ET

    FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that catcher Dioner Navarro will receive $8 million over his two-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

    ---End of Update---

    *Update: Monday, Dec. 2 at 9:38 a.m. ET

    FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that catcher Dioner Navarro has agreed to a two-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. The deal is still pending a physical.

    ---End of Update---

    *Update: Monday, Dec. 2 at 9:38 a.m. ET

    FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that catcher Dioner Navarro has agreed to a two-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. The deal is still pending a physical.

    ---End of Update---

    *Update: Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 11:50 p.m. ET

    Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press wrote that the Minnesota Twins are "one of about five teams" pursuing Dioner Navarro.

    It still remains unknown as to which team is reportedly close to signing the catcher.

    ---End of Update---

    *Update: Monday, Nov. 25 at 5:50 p.m. ET

    Peter Gammons tweeted that Dioner Navarro is getting close to reaching a deal with a team. However, that team is not the Boston Red Sox.

    Boston saw Navarro as a backup option if it was unable to sign a high-profile catcher. A recent report linked the Miami Marlins to the veteran catcher, but it's unknown which team is close to signing him.

    ---End of Update---

    *Update: Sunday, Nov. 24 at 12:30 p.m. ET

    The Miami Marlins are interested in Dioner Navarro, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami HeraldMiami has Jeff Mathis, who is a defensive catcher, on its roster. The Marlins would like to add a catcher who is strong on offense, and Navarro' recent success at the plate has them interested.

    ---End of Update---

    *Update: Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 10:40 a.m. ET

    The Boston Herald's Scott Lauber reported that the Boston Red Sox consider Dioner Navarro a "fallback option" in case they don't sign a high-profile catcher, like Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Brian McCann.  

    ---End of Update---

    *Update: Sunday, Nov. 10 at 12:37 p.m. ET

    Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times tweeted that catcher Dioner Navarro will not return next season. He expects the club to look for backup options via trade or free agency.

    ---End of Update---

    The Cubs brought in catcher Dioner Navarro for the 2013 season, and he looked impressive in limited action. He may have even earned himself a chance at a starting job with another team.

    Navarro hit .300/.365/.492 with 13 home runs, seven doubles and 34 RBI.

    The 29-year-old has turned his career around the last two seasons, so look for the free agent to draw some interest this winter.

Darwin Barney: Possible Non-Tender Candidate

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Darwin Barney plays good defense, but his offense makes him a possible non-tender candidate, suggests MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.

    The 28-year-old hit .208/.266/.336 with seven home runs and 25 doubles. His average has decline in each of the past two seasons after he hit .276 in 2011.

    The second baseman won the Gold Glove in 2012, and he was a finalist for the award again in 2013. His glove would be the reason why the Cubs would tender him a contract, but there's a possibility that his bat costs him his starting spot.

    If the Cubs non-tender him, Barney will become a free agent.

    Chicago has to make the decision by December 2, so stay tuned.

Kurt Suzuki: Free Agent Target

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Instead of chasing high-profile free agents like Brian McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Cubs are looking at a more affordable option. Sources have told CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney that the Cubs are looking at catcher Kurt Suzuki.

    The 30-year-old is known for his ability to handle a pitching staff.

    Suzuki has split his 13-year career between the Oakland Athletics and the Washington Nationals. He has hit .253 for his career, but he was much better at the plate this past season. He hit .290/.337/627 with five home runs and 13 doubles in 94 games between Oakland and Washington.

    With Dioner Navarro likely gone, the Cubs are looking for someone to mentor Welington Castillo. Suzuki is a cheap option and can be a solid contributor as the team continues to rebuild.

     

Nate Schierholtz: Possible Trade Candidate

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Nate Schierholtz was rumored in multiple trades at the deadline, and now he has been tossed into a few more rumors.

    According to Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com, the Diamondbacks are interested in adding Schierholtz to help add production from a corner outfield position.

    Morosi said that there has been "ongoing interest" in the outfielder since midseason. It's not clear as to whether or not the Cubs are looking to deal him or not, but there are suitors for the 29-year-old.

Could the Cubs and the Marlins Swap Prospects?

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    Henderson Alvarez, who threw a no-hitter in 2013, could be part of a deal involving prospects.
    Henderson Alvarez, who threw a no-hitter in 2013, could be part of a deal involving prospects.Jason Arnold/Getty Images

    Two teams that are in rebuilding mode could be trade partners, according to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.

    Miami and the Chicago Cubs are good potential trade partners. Miami is loaded with pitching prospects, and Chicago has plenty of position players in the minors. 

    Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Albert Almora and Jorge Soler are among the position players who could draw interest from Miami. Bryant, who was the No. 2 pick in this year's draft, isn't eligible to be traded until June.

    The Marlins have a long list of top pitching prospects: Jacob Turner, Nate Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez (who threw a no-hitter on the final day of the regular season), Andrew Heaney, Justin Nicolino, Adam Conley, Jose Urena and Brian Flynn. 

    It's unclear who is "untouchable," which could make a potential deal difficult.

How Aggressive Will the Cubs Be on the Market?

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    If you're a Cubs fan, the team's offseason plan probably won't make you too happy. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that team president Theo Epstein isn't planning on making a big splash this winter.

    Here's what Epstein had to say on the matter:

    We’re realistic about where we are and the need to get better. But we’re also realistic about where we are and about where the market is likely to go.

    ...

    We clearly need to get better, but we’re not going to do anything at the expense of an increasingly exciting future. So we’re going to look for moves that make sense for now and for the future.

    Epstein is taking a realistic approach to the offseason, but fans are impatient. Especially Cubs fans. 

    *Update: Nov. 12 at 7:06 a.m. ET

    Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com reported that the Cubs know they need some veteran leadership after trading away Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus this year.

    ---End of update---

     Chicago hasn't made the playoffs since 2008. Epstein has been with the club for two years, and the personnel appears to be getting better.

    The biggest stars are likely to get paid well this offseason, but don't expect the Cubs to be going after free agents like Brian McCann.

Masahiro Tanaka: Free Agent Target

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    Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times tweeted that Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said the Cubs will make a posting bid for Masahiro Tanaka.

    The 25-year-old went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA, while striking out 183 and walking only 32 in 212 innings, in the regular season for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

    He is going to demand a lot of attention from big-market teams, like the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees. Although the Cubs would like to get Tanaka, it's going to be tough to outbid two teams that are willing to spend to win. Plus, those two teams believe Tanaka could be the final piece that puts them over the top.

    Wittenmyer also wondered if Tanaka's situation would impact what the Cubs do with Jeff Samardzija.

Cubs Looking for Quality Arms

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Cubs are looking for "quality" pitchers this offseason, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. That is directly from Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations.

    Last year the club signed Edwin Jackson. That move didn't work out too well in the first year, but now the team is looking to add arms this offseason.

    Travis Wood had a breakout season, and Jeff Samardzija has been brilliant in the past. Jackson and Jake Arrieta didn't have great seasons, but they will likely be a part of the rotation next season. Now the Cubs will look for another starter.

    Muskat didn't list any names other than Scott Baker, but there are plenty of good arms available.

    Chicago also needs a closer as Kevin Gregg is now a free agent. Epstein is prepared to offer the closer's role to the "right player" acquired via trade or free agency.

Ryan Sweeney: Re-Signed

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Ryan Sweeney got off to a good start with the Cubs this season, and the club decided to reward him with a new contract, via Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

    He was hitting .295 through June, but he fractured a rib after running into an outfield wall. The outfielder did not return to the roster until September, and he hit only .225 with five extra-base hits in the final month of the season.

    Chicago was his third team in three years, and it looks like he will finally get a chance to stick around in one place. He signed a two-year deal worth $3 million, with a $2.5 million club option with a $500,000 buyout for a third year.

    Sweeney earned the contract with his play in the first half of the season. Now that he will have a full offseason to recover from his rib injury, the Cubs hope that he can get back to swinging the bat like he was early on. 

Kevin Gregg: Free Agent

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Although Kevin Gregg had a fairly successful second stint in Chicago, his time with the club may be over. Gregg was nearly released by the Cubs near the end of season, according to Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribuneafter he blasted management.

    Gregg reportedly apologized, but it may be time for the sides to go their separate ways.

    Chicago's rotation was good. The bullpen was a different story. Gregg was one of the only reliable relievers the team had, which would make it tough to let him leave. He had the second-lowest ERA (3.48) of any reliever on the team with at least 40 appearances.

    With the talent the Cubs have in the rotation, they can compete with good teams right now while the rest of the team gets filled out.

    Gregg would be tough to replace. He converted 33 of 38 save opportunities, and the Cubs felt comfortable giving him the ball with a lead. However, it may be time for a change in Chicago.

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