The market is officially open, as MLB free agency officially began Monday. The Cubs were already active on the first day adding Padres righty Cory Mazzoni and removing Leonys Martin from the 40-man roster and replacing him with RHP Matt Carasiti.
While these moves are simple and insignificant, the Cubs are prepping for a busy offseason, and one that might just land them some unexpected talent.
The Rays Rebuild May Finally Be Starting
Chris Archer is a name that has had ties to the Cubs since before he became a franchise-face in Tampa Bay. The former Cubs farmhand has been linked to Chicago multiple times over the last two seasons. The rumor was thought to be officially dead once the Cubs traded for Jose Quintana, but a source tells Sports Mockery otherwise.
— Sean Sears (@sean_sears6) November 7, 2017
A former scout says the Cubs plan on making a ‘serious run’ at Archer this offseason and are not afraid to include players like Kyle Schwarber or Javier Baez in a deal.
Of course this isn’t really surprising, as mentioned, Archer to the Cubs has been rumored plenty of times. But, what gives this deal life is that the Rays are ready to start rebuilding, and the Cubs have pieces they like.
Everything I’ve heard makes me believe that either Javier Baez or Kyle Schwarber are likely to be moved this offseason in favor of pitching or outfield help.
The Cubs are not just interested in Archer either, as Alex Colome could be someone the Cubs pivot to if a deal for the Rays’ ace falls through. The 28-year-old Colome, who has 84 saves over the last two seasons, would be an excellent Wade Davis’ successor.
How Do The Cubs Make This Happen?
This deal will hinge upon on serious Theo Epstein and the Cubs front office is about moving some of their depth to improve their roster. Archer has four more years of team control left on his deal and won’t make more than $8.25 mil in any of those years.
For the Rays to part ways with an asset as valuable as Archer, the offer will have to include MLB talent from the Cubs. Early reports suggest the Rays are looking for help in the infield and have high interest in Javy Baez.
Addison Russell is another option but with Baez being from Puerto Rico, it’s easy to see for marketing reasons why the Rays would prefer to add him over Russell.
Adding Archer would be both a move for the present and also the future, but parting with players like Russell, Baez, or Schwarber is always a gamble. But the front office feels they need another impact like Archer in their rotation, and this front office rarely doesn’t get what they want.
Expect the focus of the Cubs attention to be with Erik Neander and Rays this offseason.