Earlier this week Chicago radio station WSCR-670 (and later the Chicago Tribune) reported that the Cubs had talked to Hall of Fame general manager Pat Gillick about taking a potential role with the team.
The next day Cubs president Tom Ricketts denied having any talks with Gillick, saying: “Reports of a conversation are unfounded.”
And now Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago quotes “one of his longtime associates” as saying that Gillick “would definitely consider the Cubs … if the situation was right for Pat.”
So, to recap: One report said the Cubs had talked to Gillick, the Cubs said they hadn’t talked to Gillick, and now someone who’s worked with him in the past thinks the Cubs should talk to Gillick.
As for Gillick himself, he told the Chicago Sun-Times that he’d be open to potentially leaving his consulting job with the Philllies for “something in a presidency role” elsewhere and “if something came up where it would be above the GM position, I would think about it.”
Gillick is 74 years old and last served as a GM with the Phillies in 2008, but the Cubs seem ready to part with longtime GM Jim Hendry and they could certainly do a lot worse than turning to Gillick even if he’s realistically a short-term solution.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.