The Cubs are looking into trading for a starting pitcher

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Coming off a 97-win season, the Cubs aren’t messing around. After adding John Lackey and Ben Zobrist over the past week, the club has reportedly agreed to an eight-year, $184 million contract with free agent outfielder Jason Heyward. But they aren’t stopping there.

According to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi, the Cubs are discussing trades for starting pitching. Specifically, they have talked to the Padres about Tyson Ross and the Indians about Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. These aren’t new names, but the Heyward signing could make the possibility more likely.

The Cubs currently project to have Heyward in center field, with Jorge Soler in right field and Kyle Schwarber in left. However, any trade for a starter would almost certainly involve someone like Soler or Javier Baez. Assuming the Cubs were to deal Soler, they could put Heyward in right field and either re-sign Dexter Fowler or pursue another free agent like Denard Span.

It’s worth noting that the Cubs were also reportedly talking to the Rays about a trade earlier this week, possibly targeting Alex Cobb, though it’s unclear if that’s still a possibility. Those discussions came before the Zobrist signing.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.