Cubs

Cubs DFA Matt Szczur and promote Rob Zastryzny from Triple-A Iowa

Cubs DFA Matt Szczur and promote Rob Zastryzny from Triple-A Iowa

The Cubs could see this coming, creating a nine-man bullpen by designating outfielder Matt Szczur for assignment and promoting lefty Rob Zastryzny from Triple-A Iowa before Saturday night’s 11-6 loss to the New York Yankees at Wrigley Field.  

Zastryzny became insurance against Brett Anderson and a Yankee lineup that leads the American League in runs scored, homers, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The bullpen has been feeling the domino effect since five days ago, when Anderson got only four outs in a 10-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, part of a deeper problem where the Cubs haven’t been getting enough innings out of their rotation.

Zastryzny earned a World Series ring after last year’s impressive big-league debut, putting up a 1.13 ERA in 16 innings and becoming the first pitcher drafted by the Theo Epstein administration to play for the Cubs. 

A two-sport star at Villanova University, Szczur could have pursued opportunities in the NFL but chose baseball after getting drafted in the fifth round in 2010 and agreeing to a $1.5 million bonus. Buried on the depth chart in Chicago, Szczur is out of minor-league options and should draw trade interest from a team that might ultimately advance his career.  

“It’s excruciating,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s everything you want in a teammate. He’s always upbeat. He’s always ready to play. He knows he’s not playing, but he’s always upbeat and ready to go. And then he supports everybody around him. You want him on your team. You want him in your organization. He’s that kind of a guy.”

Cubs reportedly interested in Troy Tulowitzki

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USA TODAY

Cubs reportedly interested in Troy Tulowitzki

According to MLB Insider Jon Heyman, the Cubs are one of the teams interested in free agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. The 5-time All-Star will be holding a workout soon, with Chicago being one of the six teams reported to have a scout present at his workout.

Heyman did mention that while the Cubs aren’t necessarily the favorites right now, we will know how good of a chance they will have soon. Tulowitzki and his team are reported to be narrowing down their list to (at least) 6 teams.

Last season Tulowitzki played 66 games for the Blue Jays, batting .249 with 7 home runs and 26 RBI. For his career he is a .290 hitter and is looking for a bounce-back season after dealing with complications from bone spur injuries in both heels over the years.

Toronto has to pay the $38 million left on Tulowitzki's contract, freeing up other teams to sign the veteran to a more reasonable deal. Since the Blue Jays went the route of cutting him, teams can offer Tulowitzki a league minimum salary.

For the Cubs, he represents-however small-a chance to extract great value from a veteran player, which would be a big bonus considering how the Yu Darvish signing backfired in year one.

Tulowitzki is likely to be searching for playing time on a legit title contender, so if he can provide any solid offensive production going forward, he and the Cubs could be a solid match.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Winter Meetings recap

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Winter Meetings recap

When nothing happens in Vegas, it stays in Vegas. Luke, Kap and Tony talk about the Cubs lack of moves during the Winter Meetings.

In this episode of the Cubs Talk Podcast with Luke Stuckmeyer, David Kaplan and Tony Andracki:

00:10 - What happen in Vegas stays in Vegas and this year that means nothing. Luke, Kap & Tony talk Cubs lack of moves at Winter Meetings.

00:50 - Where the heck is all the money? This was supposed to be a wide-open window - we step on the accelerator.

01:25 - Cubs keep throwing money at the problem (Chatwood, Darvish) and it has become a cautionary tale.

02:50 - Are the Cubs playing at the shallow end of the kiddie pool?

03:50 - Tony talks about the volatility of the relief market.

05:15 - Where is the bullpen market? Brewers are making moves, but it's still "crickets" for the Cubs.

06:20 - Tony: Other than bullpen - Cubs have to address backup middle infielder most of all.

06:57 - Daniel Descalso rumors. Kap describes him as a grinder who fits the leadership mold.

07:47 - Luke is a little worried about Steve Cishek. He threw a career-high 70 innings last season.

09:34 - The guys talk about the possibility of a "second deadline" for the Winter Meetings to force clubs to make more moves.

11:06 - Luke: "I wanted to see Machado and Harper walking down the strip and making it rain!"

12:45 - Cubs still have so much to address. Some Cubs fans are starting to get a little itchy. Teams in the division are making moves. What about us?

14:45 - Question: Is Anthony Rizzo the third-best 1st baseman in the Central Division?

15:50 - Prediction time: What's biggest move the Cubs will make before opening day? Kap believes that Ian Happ will not be a Cub before the regular season starts.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast

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