Report: The Phillies have asked about Cubs left-hander Travis Wood

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The Phillies and Cubs have been speculated as a potential match in a Cole Hamels trade, but the two sides could match up in a different deal. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times has the scoop:

Hoyer wouldn’t disclose any of the specific players the Cubs are looking to acquire or trade. But sources during the week said the Phillies are one of several teams that have asked about left-hander Travis Wood and could be a match for catcher Welington Castillo. The Cubs like lefty-hitting Phils outfielder Ben Revere.

Wood is a weird target for the Phillies, as he’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and won’t be around the next time the team will likely be competitive, but they’ll need someone to log innings in 2015. Granted, they’ll likely get a pitcher back if they end up dealing Hamels this offseason, but the rest of their projected rotation includes Cliff Lee (who made just 13 starts in 2014 due to a flexor pronator strain), David Buchanan, Jerome Williams, and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. That’s a questionable bunch. Wood turns 28 in February and posted an ugly 5.03 ERA and 146/76 K/BB ratio in 173 2/3 innings over 31 starts this past season.

It makes sense the Cubs will try to move Castillo now that he’s a backup to Miguel Montero, but it’s hard to see the Phillies as a fit for him unless they end up moving Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz, who turns 36 in January, is owed $8.5 million in each of the next two seasons while his $4.5 million club option for 2017 carries a $500,000 buyout. He has the ability to block deals to four teams.

Max Scherzer: ‘There’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions’

Max Scherzer
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MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.

Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.

Scherzer’s statement:

After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.

Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.

Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.