There will probably be generations of Cubs fans who were born, lived, and will die in the time it takes for the Tribune Company to sell the team:
Sam Zell is considering a lineup change.
Tribune Co., led by Zell, is no longer negotiating only with the
Ricketts family on a deal for the Chicago Cubs. Sources confirmed
Thursday that the parent of the Chicago Tribune recently has entered
into separate discussions with a group led by New York investor and
former Chicagoan Marc Utay, whose earlier bid was trumped by the
Rickettses . . . [Tribune spokesman Gary] Weitman said the media
company is “assessing other alternatives” but would neither confirm nor
deny that it is talking again with the Utay group.
The Cubs have been for sale for over two years. While current ownership
hasn’t abandoned the team as such, the failure to find a buyer has
likely caused them to forego all manner of potential competitive moves.
Things like firing the G.M. and taking a risk on a big contract, which
is something the Cubs should otherwise be able to do. Think about it:
did you put the best oil in your car once you decided to sell it? Did
you stain your deck the summer you put your house on the market?
No matter what the ultimate price the sale of the Cubs brings, this
dilly-dallying has cost them dearly. Not so much for what has been done
to the team, but by what has not been done and what deals rejected.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.