Cubs

Cubs might look to repair 'awkward' relationship with Sosa

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Cubs might look to repair 'awkward' relationship with Sosa

There could be a thaw coming in the icy relationship between the Cubs and Sammy Sosa.

Cubs players always get taken care of in this city, but Sosa has become the invisible man. No media gigs, local commercials, spring training guest spots or doing the seventh-inning stretch.

The organization invited more than 75 guests to its downtown convention players, alumni, prospects but not Sosa, the franchises all-time leaders in home runs (545) and the star attraction for so many years at Wrigley Field.

With Sammy, its awkward, chairman Tom Ricketts said Saturday at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers. I think over time there will be a good solution for all this stuff. But obviously we saw what happened with the Hall of Fame voting this year. I dont know. It would be nice to put this chapter to rest and just welcome back all the guys who were from that era who were suspected of doing whatever.

The cloud of performance-enhancing drugs hung over Sosas case for Cooperstown. He appeared on only 71 of the 569 ballots cast by the Baseball Writers Association of America. After getting only 12.5 percent of the vote, its almost impossible to see him getting elected to the Hall of Fame, even if this was only his first year of eligibility.

Since Sosa walked out at the end of the 2004 season, the Cubs have changed ownership, shaken up the front office, burned through three managers and completely turned over their clubhouse. There arent many direct connections left.

Ricketts didnt know if keeping Sosa at a distance was because of the PEDs or the way the relationship ended, with a smashed boombox becoming the perfect metaphor. But the chairman seemed open to the idea of considering inviting Sosa to the convention, or at least opening a line of communication with his camp.

Its a great question, maybe we should revisit that, Ricketts said. When we got here, there wasnt much communication and we just really havent focused on it. But maybe its an issue we pick up this year and see what we can do about it.

Cardinals meet with Keuchel and Ryu as they look to fill out rotation, per report

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USA TODAY

Cardinals meet with Keuchel and Ryu as they look to fill out rotation, per report

The Cardinals met with the representatives of free agent starters Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu at the Winter Meetings this week, according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi.

St. Louis has an opening in their rotation, as longtime Cardinal Michael Wacha agreed to a one-year deal with the Mets Wednesday. They could address that vacancy internally, with candidates including Carlos Martinez, Alex Reyes, Austin Gomber and Daniel Ponce de Leon. Each comes with questions, however.

Martinez has dealt with shoulder problems the past two seasons and underwent a "small procedure" to address soreness in October. He moved to the bullpen in August 2018 as a result and was the Cardinals closer last season.

Reyes was once a top Cardinals prospect, but he’s pitched in just 17 games (six starts) since his 2016 — his rookie campaign. He underwent season-ending surgery in 2017 (Tommy John) and 2018 (torn lat).

Gomber posted a 4.26 ERA in 11 starts in 2018 while making 18 more appearances in relief. He didn’t pitch in the big leagues last season. Ponce de Leon started eight of his 13 appearances last season, posting a 4.15 ERA out of the rotation.

Keuchel or Ryu would be an upgrade over the uncertainty that comes with the four aforementioned candidates. Keuchel isn’t an annual Cy Young Award contender, but he holds a 3.77 ERA in 102 starts since winning the award with the Astros in 2015.

Ryu won the National League ERA title (2.32) with the Dodgers last season and holds a career 2.98 ERA in 126 games (125 starts). He’s dealt with a fair share of injuries in his career and underwent surgery on a torn left labrum in 2015. Teams will be wary of Ryu’s injury-riddled past, but he’s a frontline starter when healthy.

The Cardinals rotation is currently made up of Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Adam Wainwright and Dakota Hudson.

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Cubs Talk Podcast: Are the Cubs are starting from scratch?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Are the Cubs are starting from scratch?

The crew wraps up the week for the Cubs on the final day of the Winter Meetings in San Diego

David Kaplan and Tony Andracki are joined by MLB Pipeline writer Jim Callis to discuss the Cubs trying to replenish the farm system that is barren (1:30).

They also talk about some potential deals the Cubs could make and the returns by trading catcher Wilson Contreras (7:20), or former MVP Kris Bryant (14:30).

Listen to the episode here or in the embedded player below.

Cubs Talk Podcast

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