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Report: Brewers to acquire Alex Claudio from Rangers

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Brewers will be acquiring pitcher Alex Claudio from the Rangers. The Rangers will receive the Brewers’ competitive balance pick, No. 39 overall.

Claudio, 26, is entering his first of three years of arbitration eligibility, so he’s a cost-controlled pitcher for the Brewers. The lefty, who has mostly pitched out of the bullpen, has a career 3.20 ERA with 158 strikeouts and 48 walks in 230 2/3 innings. Claudio relies less on missing bats and more on inducing ground balls and other weak contact to find success.

Claudio has minor league options remaining, which as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes, is important to the Brewers.

Cubs have considered trading Ben Zobrist

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The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma reports that the Cubs have considered trading super-utilityman Ben Zobrist in order to free up payroll space, which would allow the club to address other areas of the roster.

Zobrist, 37, is entering the final year of his contract and will earn $12 million in 2019. According to Cot’s Contracts, the Cubs project to have an Opening Day payroll of about $204.5 million, just a hair below the luxury tax threshold of $206 million. The Cubs have notably been absent from the free agent marketplace, particularly involving Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, due to luxury tax concerns.

Last season, Zobrist hit .305/.378/.440 with nine home runs, 58 RBI, and 67 runs scored in 520 plate appearances. He played all over the field, logging 100-plus innings in both outfield corners and second base while also spending a handful of games at first base. With Addison Russell serving a 40-game suspension to open the 2019 season, Javier Báez will handle shortstop and Zobrist figures to be the starting second baseman.