Cubs

Cubs are ‘absolutely motivated’ to acquire Nolan Arenado from Colorado Rockies

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USA TODAY

Cubs are ‘absolutely motivated’ to acquire Nolan Arenado from Colorado Rockies

Rumors of the Cubs showing interest in acquiring Nolan Arenado from the Rockies have persisted over the past couple of weeks. On Wednesday, NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan gave the latest development on the story.

During his radio show Wednesday, Kaplan reported that the Cubs are “absolutely motivated to acquire Arenado,” citing a conversation he had with a source close to the Rockies.

“I was on the phone with somebody in Colorado [Tuesday] night who covers the Rockies,” Kaplan said. “He said to me, ‘hey dude, let me just tell you, these discussions are real. [Arenado] absolutely wants out of the Colorado Rockies organization and he’s made it clear to ownership, ‘I don’t want to be here. Get me outta here.’

“He said, ‘I’m telling you, the Cubs are absolutely motivated to try and get him. Absolutely, 100 percent.'”

Per Kaplan, the Cubs would send Kris Bryant and a prospect to the Rockies for Arenado and some cash. Arenado is discontented with the Rockies, telling Denver7 (Colorado TV station)  he feels “disrespected” and “crossed” by general manager Jeff Bridich. 

Les Shapiro of Mile High Sports Radio concurred with Kaplan's report, even adding Arenado would "warmly welcome a trade to the Cubs."

A Bryant-Arenado swap wouldn’t net the Cubs any young assets but it would be the significant roster shakeup Theo Epstein and Co. have tried for all winter. To that point, ESPN’s Jeff Passan said Tuesday on “Waddle and Silvy”  that the Cubs still want to make that kind of a move.

“They’re still talking to teams. They’re still talking about Nolan Arenado,” Passan said. “They want to make a big move here, and they’ve had months to do it and haven’t. They are still absolutely — even though players are going to be reporting to camp this week — looking to do something.”

Adding Arenado and his $35 million 2020 salary would put the Cubs over the luxury tax threshold, meaning they would have to make a secondary move at some point this season to shed money. Arenado also has an opt-out after 2021, so the Cubs would likely want to make she he doesn’t exercise that before acquiring him.  

There’s some smoke to the fire, here. Whether or not Arenado winds up in Chicago is far less clear.

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MLB, MLBPA 'increasingly focused' on plan to start 2020 season in May — in Arizona

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USA TODAY

MLB, MLBPA 'increasingly focused' on plan to start 2020 season in May — in Arizona

The start of the MLB season has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but baseball could return sometime next month.

Late Monday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Major League Baseball and the Players Association are “increasingly focused” on a plan which could allow the 2020 season to start in May. 

According to Passan, the plan would entail all 30 teams playing games in the Phoenix area without fans. Potential sites include the area’s 10 spring training ballparks, as well as Chase Field — home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

Players, coaches and other essential personnel would live in “relative isolation” in local hotels, only traveling to the stadium and back. Per Passan, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are supportive of a plan for MLB’s return that follows social distancing and self-isolation protocols.

The plan depends on if the country sees a significant increase in the number of available coronavirus tests, ones with quick turnaround times. Some officials believe this may make June more realistic for baseball’s return, Passan said.

The plan would necessitate the approval of the players, who would be agreeing to leave their families for upwards of four-and-a-half months. Passan said there’s hope among union and league leadership that players will be convinced to play, citing the paychecks they’d receive, and the distraction baseball could provide the nation.

With the uniqueness of the situation, the league and union have discussed a number of possible significant changes. Passan mentioned several of them:

-Expanded rosters
-An electronic strike zone — assuring umpires and catchers are sufficiently distanced from one another
-No mound visits from coaches or catchers
-Seven-inning doubleheaders, allowing the league to play as close to 162 games as possible
-Micing up players regularly, to benefit TV viewers
-Team members sitting six feet apart in the stands rather than dugouts 

If the players and league agree to a deal, teams would head to Arizona in May — assuming the necessary housing, transportation and security are in place. 

MLB, MLBPA discuss playing entire 2020 season in Arizona without fans, report says

MLB, MLBPA discuss playing entire 2020 season in Arizona without fans, report says

As Major League Baseball and the Players Association think of ways to salvage the 2020 season, one idea broached involves all 30 teams playing in Arizona.

In a Monday phone call, MLB and the union discussed every team possibly playing in empty stadiums in the Phoenix area this season, according to the Associated Press. The idea is still in its infancy and the union would want to survey its members to see if they’d be on board.

There are 10 spring training ballparks in Arizona within 50 miles of each other. An obvious concern is Arizona’s severe summertime heat, which, according to MLB super-agent Scott Boras, could be combatted by playing daily tripleheaders in the Diamondbacks’ Chase Field.

Boras also noted the number of precautions that would have to be taken to ensure the league keeps those involved, and the outside world at large, safe.

RELATED: Two Cubs employees test positive for COVID-19

“You’re going to be largely separated from your families and you’re going to have to function in a very contained way,” he told AP’s Ronald Blum. “It’s not it’s not a normal life, this idea.

“You’re going to have an identified group of people. You’re going to have a constantly tested group of people. And you’re going to have a very limited access of those people to the outside world so that you can assure a very uncontaminated league, if you will, to produce a product that is inspirational to our country.”