Carlos Zambrano told Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com that Cubs manager Lou Piniella promised him that his move to the bullpen will only be temporary as general manager Jim Hendry searches for a set-up man.
“Yeah, that’s what [Cubs manager] Lou [Piniella] said, that’s what we
agreed [upon],” Zambrano said. “They are looking for a setup man. That’s
what they told me. I don’t think I’ll be here [in the bullpen] too long
in this role. But I will be there when they need me.”
Hendry, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have a sense of urgency to change course.
“I never predict whether or not we’re going to acquire anybody or not,”
Hendry said. “I don’t have a time frame. This is just the best decision
for the club. A month from now we might have an injury or someone might
slip up, things can change.”
Though they haven’t been linked in talks yet, one possibility for the bullpen is right-hander Juan Cruz, who was inexplicably released by the Royals last week. Cruz was pretty awful last season, but remember that he still touches the mid 90s on his fastball and is just two years removed from a 2.61 ERA with the Diamondbacks.
Big Z made his debut out of the bullpen on Saturday, allowing one run
over 1 1/3 innings. After resting on Sunday, Piniella said the $17 million reliever is available for Monday night’s game
against the Nationals.
Former Tigers infielder Casey McGehee has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
It’s the fourth move the corner infielder has made in the last two seasons after seeing short-term stints with the Marlins, Giants and Tigers. He signed a minor league deal with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season, providing the club with some infield depth behind 24-year-old Nick Castellanos. When Castellanos hit the disabled list in August with a broken hand, McGehee was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for a 30-game stint and slashed .228/.260/.239 with one extra-base hit in 96 PA. His career batting line (.258/.317/.384 over eight seasons) isn’t too shabby, but his age and a long history of knee injuries puts a damper on his potential.
McGehee last appeared in the NPB circuit in 2013, when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He spent the bulk of his season at the hot corner, batting an impressive .292/.396/.515 with 28 homers in 590 PA and appearing in the Eagles’ first and only championship run to date.
The deal comes with a club option for 2018, Rosenthal reports, though no figure has been specified.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.