Playing Fact or Fiction with the Latest Cubs Rumors
The 2013 offseason has been reasonably quiet on the north side of Chicago thus far, not surprising to many fans. The Cubs have already gone on record to say that they will make minimal use of free agency this year, instead opting to put their trust in the young farm system waiting at the helm.
Rumors have inevitably begun to circulate, most notably surrounding the fate of starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs have expressed interest in re-signing him, but rumors have also flown of discussions between the Cubs and Diamondbacks regarding a possible trade.
Here we play fact or fiction with the latest Cubs rumors for the 2013 offseason.
Jeff Samardzija will be Traded to the Diamondbacks: Fiction
The future of Jeff Samardzija remains to be seen. David Kaplan of CSN Chicago reported on Nov. 15 that the Cubs and Samardzija were in talks for an extension, but reports have also surfaced that the Diamondbacks had been in talks with the Cubs over trading Jeff Samardzija.
More than likely, "Shark" will remain with the Cubs. Samardzija could become a mid-rotation starter once the Cubs acquire more solid starter pitching.
It's also important to note that Samardzija likely isn't very well-liked in the Arizona clubhouse. In the beginning of June, Diamondbacks first base coach Matt Williams and Samardzija exchanged a few words during a game which finally culminated with Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson telling reporters that "Shark" needs to "Shut the (expletive) up and pitch."
Darwin Barney is on the Trade Block: Fact
In no way is Barney's future with the Cubs guaranteed. However, the fact that a new hitting coach will be in the mix could aid Barney's case to remain with the Cubs.
Despite being a finalist for the 2013 Gold Glove, Barney's overall value was greatly reduced by his lack of production at the plate. The 28-year-old second basement hit just .208 in 2013 with a .266 on-base percentage.
Cubs beat reporter Carrie Muskat acknowledged the possibility of a Darwin Barney trade, although that will ultimately depend on who is available at third base. Luis Valbuena could take over for Barney at first base if prospect Mike Olt is ready to start at third, but that will depend on spring training performance.
The Cubs also have prospect Arismendy Alcantara available at second base soon.
With multiple options available to replace Barney, the Cubs could certainly shop him around this offseason.
Bill Mueller is a Favorite to be the Next Cubs Hitting Coach: Fiction
Not to say that Mueller is a bad candidate to be the next Cubs hitting coach, but he isn't the most logical. Although Mueller did have a solid playing career, including two years with the Cubs, Mueller has absolutely no coaching experience whatsoever.
Mueller is one of a long line of individuals with a past history involving team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer to be mentioned as candidates to reunite in a Cubs uniform. The list includes first baseman Anthony Rizzo and new manager Rick Renteria (both of whom spent time with Hoyer in San Diego) and Red Sox bench coach Torey Luvollo, who the Cubs were interested in to become the next manager.
However, current Daytona Cubs hitting coach Mariano Duncan does.
Duncan is named as another candidate for the coaching position, largely because of his work with the Cubs minor leaguers of recent. Bringing Duncan up to work with the Cubs prospects once they make it to the big leagues may be a very wise decision.