The Rundown: Moncada to Work Out For Cubs This Week, Padres Made ‘Aggressive’ Offer for Cole Hamels, ESPN Ranks Cubs 13th in MLB

Coveted Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada is expected to work out with the Cubs this week, according to Jesse Sanchez.

This might have been exciting news a few weeks ago, but at this point it seems like a mere formality for the Cubs. Moncada was cleared to sign with an MLB team last week, and according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, he wants to decide on his destination by Feb. 23 and begin playing soon.

For the Cubs to land Moncada, it would require him to wait until July to sign because the team exceeded their bonus pool allotment for 2012-2013. So it appears the Cubs have virtually zero chance at this point.

Padres made aggressive offer for Hamels

If James Shields hadn’t agreed to sign with the Padres a few days ago, would he have landed in Chicago? It’s interesting to think about, and I believe it’s fairly likely.

Ken Rosenthal writes that the Padres made an “aggressive” offer for left-handed ace Cole Hamels before they signed Shields. Apparently the Phillies didn’t think it was aggressive enough, however.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told that they have received four “real” offers for Hamels, but wouldn’t say which teams were involved. It’s possible the Cubs were one of them, given their previous interest in the pitcher.

I still don’t see the Cubs pulling off a trade for Hamels right now, but they could revisit the possibility later in the year.

Other notes

* ESPN’s David Schoenfield ranks the Cubs as the 13th best team in MLB, with an estimated record of 84-78. He believes Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara could have improved sophomore seasons, but that Kyle Hendricks may be due for some regression. He’s also not completely sold that Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta will dominate. Overall, however, he thinks if some breaks fall the right way, the Cubs could be in for a fun year. This is pretty close to how I’m expecting the Cubs’ season to go. I’m just hoping they catch enough of those breaks and sneak into the playoffs, where anything can happen.

* Veteran rock band AC/DC is playing Wrigley Field on Sept. 15, if that’s your thing:

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