Cubs

Cubs reportedly sign Dontrelle Willis to minor-league deal

976109.png

Cubs reportedly sign Dontrelle Willis to minor-league deal

According to a report, the Cubs continued to add to their pitching staff Friday night:

cubs sign dontrelle willis to minor-league deal Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 5, 2013
officially, d-train has an invite to cubs minor-league camp. but if he is throwing well, he may get chances in big camp Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 5, 2013
To say Willis has had an eventful career is a bit of an understatement. He turns 31 next week and has already pitched nine seasons in the majors.

The Cubs drafted the lanky lefty in the eighth round of the 2000 Draft before sending him to the Marlins in the deal that brought Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca to Chicago.

Willis burst onto the scene as a 21-year-old in 2003, winning 14 games and taking home the NL Rookie of the Year Award. He finished second in Cy Young voting in '05, when he won 22 games and finished with a 2.63 ERA.

In December 2007, he was packaged with Miguel Cabrera in a deal that sent both players to Detroit. Willis' first season there was a complete disaster as he appeared in eight games (seven starts) and walked 35 batters in 24 innings with a 9.38 ERA.

He hasn't been able to stick in the majors since and bounced around a bevy of teams before signing on with the Baltimore Orioles last year. But that didn't work out, either, and he voluntarily retired from the team in early July.

Theo Epstein on Manny Machado rumors: 'It's honestly something we're looking at and just rolling our eyes at'

machado_sox_.jpg
USA TODAY

Theo Epstein on Manny Machado rumors: 'It's honestly something we're looking at and just rolling our eyes at'

Despite the MLB trade deadline being two months away, rumors of the Cubs potentially acquiring Orioles' shortstop Manny Machado have intensifed recently. Regardless, Cubs president Theo Epstein made his point on the rumor frenzy quite clear Thursday.

"I can say with regards to this particular spasm of media frenzy, it is outrageously outsized when you compare it to the reality of the situation," Epstein said Thursday on 670 The Score.

Machado is having an unbelievable season with the Orioles, hitting .328 with 15 home runs and 43 RBIs entering Thursday. If traded, he would undoubtedly provide a boost to any ballclub, but that is a big "if."

Of course, the MLB season is not even two months old yet, which Epstein pointed out as being a big factor in the situation.

"It's May," he said. "We're still figuring out who we are as a team this year. We're still figuring out our place in the division.

"There's an atypical amount of trade discussion in May this year, which is essentially nil."

Rumors of the Cubs being a potential player in acquiring Machado make sense. At 15-34, the Orioles have the worst winning percentage (.306) in the MLB. With their current positioning, trading Machado could start a rebuild that the Orioles might just need. The Cubs have a 24-year-old shortstop in Addison Russell that the Orioles could acquire to a) replace Machado and b) use as the face of their rebuild.

Be that as it may, Epstein said the rumors are something that the Cubs are "just rolling our eyes at."

"I understand it's natural for people to connect the dots and there to be this kind of frenzy from time to time, but it's honestly something we're looking at and just rolling our eyes at," he said. "It's not like July, where every now and then there's lots of coverage on deals that are actually being discussed or actually might happen.

"This one is just out there in fantasy land at this point."

Podcast: Albert Almora Jr. dishes on his role and the Cubs’ unsung hero that keeps things loose behind the scenes

1020_albert_almora.jpg
USA TODAY

Podcast: Albert Almora Jr. dishes on his role and the Cubs’ unsung hero that keeps things loose behind the scenes

Albert Almora Jr. joins Kelly Crull on the Cubs Talk Podcast to weigh in on a variety of topics, including his budding bromance with rumored Cubs target Manny Machado, his expanded role and how he spends his time off away from the ballpark.

Plus, Almora has a surprise pick for the organization’s unsung hero, stating the Cubs would’ve never won the World Series without this guy.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here: