There has been plenty of frustration on the fans’ side of things in regard to the delays with the Wrigley Field renovations, but the players are also unhappy. According to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said yesterday that he’s “sick of” hearing undelivered promises from the Cubs and would like to see some action.
“I’ve only been here a few years and guys before me have heard it before – changes were going to happen,” Rizzo said. “I don’t know what’s going on. Obviously, it’s not my job to do it. Obviously, we all want it. But when guys are promised that things are going to happen and they don’t happen, they’re not happy about it.
“Now it’s just kind of: ‘OK, when it gets done, it gets done.’ We’re not going to have our hopes up for anything.”
“We’ll have all the top-notch stuff and the new clubhouse is going to be the best in the game,” Rizzo said. “I know we’re going to do everything first-class, because that’s the way the organization is. It’s just that we’re kind of sick of hearing it’s going to be done. We just want to see it get done.”
Former Cub and now Padre pitcher Andrew Cashner recently referred to Wrigley Field a “dump,” which was a harsh way of saying that the facilities are super-outdated for the players. Of course, this isn’t particularly surprising given that the stadium opened in 1914. While the original plans called for the Cubs to have a bigger and more modern clubhouse by Opening Day this year, the new target date is 2016.
Rizzo is owed $41 million from the Cubs through 2019, so there’s a good chance he’ll eventually see some action to go along with the promises. Maybe. Someday.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.
The Nationals are trying to go big this offseason, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that they are still in trade talks for White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale and Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Both players figure to command a big return, as Sale delivered another Cy Young-worthy performance in 2016 and, despite a downturn in his production rate, McCutchen is still one of the more coveted sluggers in the National League.
In 2016, Sale led the league in complete games, with six, and turned in a 3.34 ERA and 5.2 fWAR in 226 2/3 innings. While teams have been sniffing around the White Sox’ ace since the trade deadline, the club is expected to maintain a high asking price — so high, said FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, that it may keep the left-hander in Chicago for the foreseeable future.
According to Heyman, four other teams are reportedly in the mix for Sale, including the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Braves, though parts of Rosenthal’s tweet hinted that the Red Sox were maintaining their interest in hopes of striking a more affordable deal. Should the Nationals pursue a deal for Sale, it’s likely that they’d have to move shortstop/center fielder Trea Turner, which they appear reluctant to do.
McCutchen, meanwhile, is also drawing interest around the league after batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs in 675 PA during 2016. He didn’t appear to lose much power in his eighth season with the Pirates, but took considerably fewer walks and struck out at a career-high clip.
The Nationals were said to be in the lead for McCutchen on Thursday, and there was some expectation that the club would wrap up a trade for the center fielder by the non-tender deadline on Friday. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pointed out that the Rangers were also talking to the Pirates, however, and no deal has come to fruition as of yet.