UPDATE: The Tigers have some more competition. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Marlins also have “serious interest” in Garza.
The Cubs are believed to have prospect outfielder and 2010 first-round pick Christian Yelich on their radar while Rosenthal hears the Marlins are willing to part with the likes of first baseman Gaby Sanchez, outfielder Chris Coghlan, reliever Jose Ceda and third base prospect Matt Dominguez in potential trades.
10:25 PM: It’s no secret that the Cubs are shopping right-hander Matt Garza as the new front office lays the groundwork for a rebuilding plan. Early word had the Blue Jays, Yankees and Red Sox as potential landing spots. However, Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com hears that the Tigers have also emerged as as suitor.
The Tigers were involved in trade talks with the Athletics for left-hander Gio Gonzalez before he was traded to the Nationals last week. However, talks fell apart after they refused to give up prospect third baseman Nick Castellanos along with prospect right-hander Jacob Turner. The thought is that the price tag won’t be nearly as high for Garza, as he is under team control through 2013 while Gonzalez is under team control through 2015. Should still be pretty hefty, though.
Garza, who turned 28 in November, owns a 3.83 ERA over his first six seasons in the big leagues, averaging 7.5 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. He posted a 3.32 ERA and a career-high 197 strikeouts over 198 innings this past season with the Cubs.
Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.
It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.
Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.
If you’re looking to rep the red and royal blue this October, you best get your gear inside the ballpark. According to Lauren Zumbach of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have sought a court order that would allow them to seize unauthorized merchandise being hawked outside of Wrigley Field. That includes shirts with taglines like “Just One Before I Die” and apparel depicting a blue flag with a white “W.”
[The Cubs] received a trademark for “W” flags, but a trademark for use on apparel is pending. Deeming a letter of the alphabet worthy of a trademark might seem like a stretch, but around Wrigley, everyone knows what that particular W in that particular color combination means, [intellectual property attorney Douglas Masters] said.
While seven vendors have been named in the suit, the Cubs have a list of 30 more whom they suspect of trademark infringement, including retailers who primarily operate online.
Back in 2013, the Cubs ran into a similar issue when a fan dressed as alternative mascot Billy the Cub and made multiple appearances on game days outside the park. After six years in the role, Billy the Cub was ordered to cease and desist his ballpark activities by the team.
This time, however, Billy’s tip jar pales in comparison to the revenue unauthorized sellers stand to reap over the next two months. With the playoffs just around the corner and playoff merchandise sales in full swing, quashing the competition (both on the field and off) will be top priority in weeks to come.
The club’s full complaint can be found here.