The Cubs will be meeting with LHP Jon Lester at the currently bleacher-less Wrigley Field early next week, according to Bruce Levine. So continues what will most likely be a long, drawn-out pursuit of one of the best pitchers currently available.
The process won’t come without competition, however. WEEI’s Rob Bradford is reporting six teams are showing “legitimate” interest in Lester, with one of them not being Seattle.
In addition to the Cubs, the Red Sox will be a major player. Red Sox ownership is planning on meeting with Lester — possibly this week, writes Gordon Edes. I have a feeling Lester won’t go back to Boston. I’m betting he goes to a team in the National League, either the Cubs or Dodgers.
Edwards finishes up solid AFL run
In his final start in the Arizona Fall League, top Cubs pitching prospect C.J. Edwards continued his successful campaign. He pitched three scoreless innings with two strikeouts and only one hit given up.
Edwards finishes the AFL with an impressive 1.80 ERA. I’m really looking forward to monitoring his progress next season; it will be an important one for him.
Speaking of staying hot in the AFL, Bijan Rademacher went 2-for-4 with a walk, home run and four RBI in the 6-5 win for the Mesa Solar Sox. The outfielder is hitting .359 in 39 at-bats, with more stolen bases (four) than strikeouts (three).
Cubs claim Roach
In what might be my new favorite name for a Cubs player, Donn Roach has been claimed off waivers from the Padres.
Roach, a 24-year-old RHP, appeared in 16 games for San Diego last year, sporting a 4.75 ERA. Theo Epstein told the media at the GM meetings on Wednesday that Roach induces a lot of ground balls and will battle for a bullpen spot next year.
In other Padres news, Ken Rosenthal reports they are listening to offers on three of their top starters: Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross. Cashner and Ross are interesting names, as they’re relatively cheap and under control for another couple of years.
* The Cubs reportedly had at least four scouts watching Cuban Yoan Moncada’s workout in Guatemala on Wednesday, according to Jonathon Mayo. Moncada, 19, is receiving rave reviews and is being compared to Jorge Soler and Yasiel Puig. He is a switch hitter, and it sounds like he could play shortstop, second or third. Because Moncada is only 19, he is subject to international signing guidelines. The Cubs exceeded their spending pool last period, so they wouldn’t be able to sign Moncada unless he becomes available after June 15. Let’s hope that happens.
* The Cy Young Award winners were announced Wednesday: the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw in the National League (no surprise there) and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the American League. It was a close decision between Kluber and the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, but I think the voters got it right. Some cool news: Jake Arrieta finished ninth in voting, with three fifth-place votes. Kudos to Jake; he deserved it.
* According to multiple reports, the Pirates have traded for catcher Francisco Cervelli. He comes over from the Yankees for left-handed reliever Justin Wilson. It was probably a long shot for the Pirates to re-sign catcher Russell Martin, but this move pretty much seals the deal. It’s not 100 percent out of the question, but I just don’t see them ponying up the necessary cash for Martin.
* Agent Scott Boras on Wednesday made his annual complaint about the Cubs not bringing up Kris Bryant. “They’re on the record as trying to win,” Boras told media, including Patrick Mooney. “The question is: Does it best help the Cubs win if he’s on the team for six months or for five-and-a-half or four-and-a-half?” Thankfully, this should be the last time we have to hear this argument from Boras. In reference to Bryant, at least.
* Jeff Samardzija was approached by an NFL team last season, Jesse Rogers says. Pretty interesting. I’d say Shark made the right decision in sticking with baseball.
* MLB is looking into finding a solution to why so many pitchers require Tommy John Surgery, writes Jeff Passan. A new initiative called Pitch Smart will aim to teach young players how to avoid arm injuries. It makes sense to try and address this problem, but it may be difficult. I’m not sure anybody knows for sure what measures can be taken to avoid these injuries in the future. Is it number of pitches? Frequency of throwing? The effort exerted while pitching? Maybe this will help us one day understand the best steps to take.
* In some very unfortunate news, Cardinals rookie Oscar Taveras, who died along with his girlfriend in a car accident last month in the Dominican Republic, reportedly was drunk at the time of the crash. He was driving with a blood-alcohol content 5 times the country’s legal limit, according to the AP. These developments simply bring an extra sting of disappointment and sadness to the story.