Report: The Cubs are “actively exploring” trade for a top closer

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After addressing a need for their rotation by adding veteran right-hander John Lackey on a reported two-year, $32 million contract, the Cubs have apparently turned their attention to upgrading the back-end of their bullpen.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Cubs are “actively exploring” a trade for one of the one top closers. No specifics on who they are targeting, but a bunch of closers are reportedly available via trade right now, including Aroldis Chapman of the Reds, Ken Giles of the Phillies, Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger of the Rays, and Andrew Miller of the Yankees. The Nationals have also made Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen available.

The Cubs already have a pretty good closer in Hector Rondon, who had a 1.67 ERA and 69/15 K/BB ratio in 70 innings this past season. However, the prospect of using him in a set-up role in front of someone like Chapman (again, just speculation) is obviously really enticing.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.