Cubs

Could Cubs trade Garza for Rizzo?

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Could Cubs trade Garza for Rizzo?

With the Reds-Padres trade Saturday, there was some speculation San Diego's top first base prospect Anthony Rizzo could be on the trading block and that the Cubs could have interest.

Matt Garza's name has been involved in trade talks as well this offseason, most notably with the Rangers during the winter meetings in Dallas earlier this month.

Both of those talks are picking up more now as Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio tweeted out in the wee hours of Sunday morning:

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JIM BOWDENPadres have interest in a package deal with the primary trade pieces being Anthony Rizzo and Matt Garza...should be interesting in Cubs view
Dec 18 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

Hard to see the Cubs trading him, especially as Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein continue to express a desire to improve the team's run prevention, which obviously includes the starting rotation. It wouldn't fit with that strategy for the new Theo Trio to send away their best pitcher.

But then again, if the Cubs were to trade Garza for anybody, Rizzo may be one of the top guys.

Jason McLeod drafted Rizzo in Boston and then Theo sent the young first baseman to San Diego (where Hoyer was GM) in the package for superstar Adrian Gonzalez.

All three are familiar with the 22-year-old and they're all high on him. He could be a team cornerstone for years to come.

Rizzo struggled in the 49 games he appeared in with the Padres last season, but considering the 1.056 OPS he put up in Triple-A last year, he appears to be ready to take over a Major League position at the start of the season.

The Cubs do need a first baseman (especially if all this Prince Fielder talk really is a media smokescreen) but it would still be really hard to trade Garza. There would likely be other pieces to the puzzle and more players coming back to Chicago than just Rizzo.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Is Kris Bryant the new Curt Flood?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Is Kris Bryant the new Curt Flood?

This has been the offseason of Kris Bryant rumors and with his grievance still unresolved Cubs fans can only speculate what will happen to the MVP. Is Kris Bryant trying to change the system like Curt Flood did? Host David Kaplan is joined by ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers to discuss Bryant's future as a Cub, and the lackluster offseason the Cubs have had.

(1:50) - Why the Cubs have not made any moves so far

(3:32) - Is Kris Bryant the new Curt Flood?

(6:26) - Cubs need upgrades, specifically in the bullpen

(9:10) - Will the Cubs make a big move before the season starts?

(11:30) - Does Javy Baez get the big extension?

(14:45) - Will the Cubs get to 86 wins this year?

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast

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Cubs close to deal with free agent outfielder Steven Souza, per report

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USA TODAY

Cubs close to deal with free agent outfielder Steven Souza, per report

The Cubs have made a roster move.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are reportedly close to a deal with free agent outfielder Steven Souza.

Souza, 30, missed the 2019 season after suffering a torn left ACL and LCL at the end of spring training. He also missed a chunk of 2018, playing 72 games while hitting the injured list on multiple occasions.

Souza had a career year with the Rays in 2017, slashing .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBIs and a 121 wRC+. Those figures were career-bests for Souza, minus his batting average. He sported a walk rate (13.6 percent) above league average (8.5) that season, though his strikeout rate (29 percent) was worse than the MLB average (23).

The signing of Souza likely rules out a return of fan favorite outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. The Cubs have been linked to Castellanos throughout the offseason, but since they're looking to stay under MLB’s luxury tax threshold, re-signing Castellanos would require some financial maneuvering.

Souza has spent most of his career in right field (3,608 career innings) but has minimal experience playing center (33 1/3) and left (20). He’s above average in right (career 6 Defensive Runs Saved) and posted a career best 7 DRS in 2017.

The Cubs have a five-time Gold Glove right fielder in Jason Heyward, so Souza will see time at all three outfield spots. Heyward moved to center full-time last season after the Cubs acquired Castellanos and has played center at times throughout his career.

Assuming he stays healthy, Souza is a low-risk, high-reward move for the Cubs. He’ll add power to the middle of the order and add a proven bat to an outfield with some question marks. Albert Almora Jr. and Ian Happ have each struggled offensively at times since 2018. Souza offers another bat in case those two slump again.