Cubs

Former Cubs reliever Kyle Farnsworth is now a star football player

kyle-farnsworth-football-slide-05-06.png

Former Cubs reliever Kyle Farnsworth is now a star football player

Former Cubs reliever Kyle Farnsworth always looked like he was made for the gridiron.

Now he actually is a football player.

The 39-year-old Farnsworth is currently a defensive end for the Orlando Phantoms of the Florida Football Alliance. And Farnsworth isn't just playing defensive end in the FFA, he's dominating the position.

Farnsworth leads the Phantoms in tackles (41) and sacks (11). He is also second on the team with seven tackles for a loss. His numbers stack up favorably among the league's best defenders:

Farnsworth's dominance in the FFA shouldn't come as a surprise to many Cubs fans. Standing 6-foot-4 with a chiseled 230-pound frame and equipped with a heat-seeking missile for a fastball, Farnsworth struck fear in his opponents during the prime of his career. Back in 2003, former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Paul Wilson witnessed that firsthand:

While Farnsworth says he's still baseball ready, the Phantoms better hope that MLB teams stay off his radar for at least a few weeks considering they're gearing up for a playoff run. Farnsworth had one his most successful seasons as a reliever in 2001, registering a 2.74 ERA and a career-high 107 strikeouts with the Cubs. Farnsworth last pitched for the Houston Astros in 2014.

Check out some other interesting factoids from around the FFA:

-Farnsworth's teammate Chris Perry is a two-time MVP and one of the most dangerous weapons on the field for the Phantoms. Although it isn't confirmed at this time, he may be the same Chris Perry that starred for the University of Michigan in 2003 and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft.

-Orlando Rage running back Levi 'Duke' Raines Jr., the FFA's leading rusher, is the nephew of former White Sox great Tim Raines.

-Phantoms wide receiver Chris Berrian is the brother of former Bears wideout Bernard Berrian.

-The league's top wide receiver Speedy Jones (awesome name by the way) was a three-star cornerback recruit for the Auburn Tigers and was one of the top preps track stars in the state of Georgia.

-Palm Beach Makos quarterback Josh McGregor is having quite the season. He leads the league with 34 touchdown passes and 2,285 passing yards.

Nationals make inquiry to Cubs about Kris Bryant trade, report says

Nationals make inquiry to Cubs about Kris Bryant trade, report says

In the event they lose All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon in free agency, the Nationals could turn to Kris Bryant as a replacement.

Tuesday, MLB.com's Jon Morosi reported the Nationals have "made an initial inquiry" to the Cubs about trading for Bryant.

Morosi added that Bryant isn't expected to be traded soon, as his market hinges on a) his unresolved service time grievance case and b) where Rendon and fellow free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson sign.

Monday, WSCR's Bruce Levine reported the Phillies and Cubs have discussed a Bryant trade. But similarly, there's nothing to the talks currently due to the two aforementioned factors.

There's also the chance the Cubs hang on to the 2016 National League MVP. They won't trade Bryant just for the sake of doing so, especially if they deem any trade offers as insufficient. But if they do decide to move him, it appears the Cubs will have several potential trade partners, at the least. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream

No momentum yet on potential Cubs-Zobrist reunion

No momentum yet on potential Cubs-Zobrist reunion

SAN DIEGO — Theo Epstein's front office has a lot of difficult decisions to make this winter, but Ben Zobrist has yet to come up with his own tough answers.

The 2016 World Series MVP is currently a free agent after wrapping up his four-year deal with the Cubs. He played a major role on the team in September following a four-month absence to deal with a family matter. 

Zobrist, 38, said at the end of the season that he was unsure if he would call it quits after an impressive career or return for another season on the diamond. More than two months since he last put on a uniform, he still has not reached an answer:

If he does play another season, it would have to be in the right situation for his family. He's made enough money in his career and accomplished plenty — including hoisting a couple championship trophies — but he clearly still had the drive and desire to play, as he said in his September return.

The Cubs figure to be on the short list of teams that would make sense for Zobrist given the mutual familiarity, a home in Chicago and how the entire organization supported him as he stepped away from the team to address his personal life.

It would seem to fit from the Cubs' perspective as well, since they talked all season long about how they missed Zobrist's professional at-bats and his presence inside the clubhouse. 

But there is no traction on the reunion front at the moment.

"I haven't talked to him recently," Epstein said Monday. "I've talked to him since the season ended, but it was more just checking in on his family. As far as baseball, he hadn't made a decision at that point. He was gonna wait a while before deciding what to do. He left open the possibility, but that was it."

The Cubs have an avenue for playing time next season at second base and potentially in the outfield for Zobrist and they are currently searching for leadoff options. He proved he can still play at his advanced age by hitting .284/.388/.377 in September after months away from the game. He isn't an everyday guy anymore, but can still provide value as a role player.

If Zobrist decides to give it one more go, the price would have to be right for the financially-hamstrung Cubs, but a reunion would make a lot of sense for both sides.