Cubs

Addison Russell: 'Special' as Cubs entire infield starts All-Star Game

Addison Russell: 'Special' as Cubs entire infield starts All-Star Game

SAN DIEGO -- Addison Russell had a pretty unique view in his first All-Star Game on Tuesday night.

As he looked around the infield, the Cubs shortstop was surrounded only by his own teammates. For only the second time in baseball history and the first since 1963, the Cubs fielded the entire starting infield for the National League squad, which lost to the American League 4-2 in front of 42,386 at Petco Park. Kris Bryant started at third, Ben Zobrist was at second and Anthony Rizzo started at first.

“It’s pretty special,” Russell said. “Just to be at an All-Star Game and see them on this type of stage, on this day with all of us here together is special.

“We worked really hard to get to this point.”

Russell batted twice and went 0-for-2. He put a nice swing on a 94-mph fastball from Cole Hamels in the third inning, but flew out to the warning track in center despite a nice sound off his bat.

Russell also grounded into a fielder’s choice off Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez in the fourth inning.

One of seven Cubs to make the All-Star Game, Russell was one of 34 first-time All-Stars along with teammate Dexter Fowler and White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana.

Before the game, Russell said one of his biggest goals of the All-Star extravaganza was to meet Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz, who plans to retire after this season and likely played in his 10th and final All-Star Game.

“It’s pretty cool being in my first All-Star Game and he’s in his last,” Russell said. “I can tell my children some day about this. It’s generational. I’m trying to soak it in and chalk it up as a valuable experience.”

Tuesday’s game marked only the second time in All-Star history that four Cubs started a game together along with 1936. The 1963 St. Louis Cardinals are the only other team to boast an entire starting infield. That group featured Bill White at first, Julian Javier at second base, shortstop Dick Groat and third baseman Ken Boyer.

 

Cubs free agent Nick Castellanos reportedly agrees to deal with Reds

Cubs free agent Nick Castellanos reportedly agrees to deal with Reds

Yesterday, it was reported that the Reds were the favorite to ink Cubs free agent right fielder Nick Castellanos. On Monday, it appears those two sides have reached an agreement on a multi-year deal, per The Athletic's C. Trent Rosencrans and Ken Rosenthal: 

Given the Cubs' desire to steer clear of the luxury tax in 2020, the odds of a reunion with Castellanos were always low. The club's recent signing of outfielder Steven Souza only furthered that belief.

To lose him to a divison rival, though, undoubtedly stings, especially considering the gumption with which the Reds have approached the offseason. Cincinnati has also notably added Mike Moustakas, Shogo Akiyama and Wade Miley this winter.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported the deal is for $64 million over four years and added that the deal includes at least one opt-out.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.

Reds are favorite to sign Cubs free agent outfielder Nick Castellanos, report says

castellanos_thumb.jpg
USA TODAY

Reds are favorite to sign Cubs free agent outfielder Nick Castellanos, report says

The odds of a Cubs-Nick Castellanos reunion happening have seemed slim all offseason. Although they've been connected to him at various points this winter, bringing back the fan favorite right fielder would require some serious financial gymnastics for the North Siders.

With the Cubs cognizant of the luxury tax, the division rival Reds have emerged as the favorite to sign Castellanos, according to MLB insider Jon Morosi.

The Reds have emerged as the frontrunner to sign free-agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, one source said Sunday, and there are indications the sides have made progress over the past several days. While Cincinnati is now the favorite to sign Castellanos, the Giants also have negotiated with the 27-year-old in recent weeks.

Because of their desire to stay under the luxury tax in 2020, the Cubs have only made low-cost acquisitions this winter. They were penalized $7.6 million for eclipsing the threshold in 2019; if they do so in 2020, they'll be taxed 30 percent on their overages —  and see their 2021 draft pick drop 10 spots, if they go over the figure by $40 million.

At this point, the only realistic scenario where the Cubs re-sign Castellanos is if they shed salary. However, they've reportedly signed outfielder Steven Souza to a one-year deal, giving them five outfielders (along with Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora, Ian Happ, Jason Heyward). That might be the biggest indicator of a reunion not being in the cards.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.