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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Brandon Morrow sidelined with upper chest strain, no timetable for return

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USA TODAY

Brandon Morrow sidelined with upper chest strain, no timetable for return

Brandon Morrow’s comeback attempt has hit a bump in the road.

Morrow, the Cubs reliever and former closer, has what the club is calling a “mild right upper chest strain,” according to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. Bastian added Morrow felt the strain in his last bullpen session and there is no clear timeline for his return.

The strain is the latest ailment to sideline the oft-injured Morrow, who hasn't pitched since July 2018 due to a series of arm troubles. The 35-year-old has undergone two elbow surgeries since then (November 2018, September 2019) before becoming a free agent this winter. He rejoined the Cubs on a minor-league deal.

Morrow entered camp optimistic the latest procedure did the trick to get his elbow healthy. The Cubs have been easing him into action — the right-hander is throwing one bullpen every four days. Morrow said earlier this month he’s experienced some aches and pains but attributed those to being part of the rehab process.

Morrow is listed as day-to-day, according to Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune. But considering his injury history — and the fact he was already unlikely to crack the Opening Day roster —  the Cubs will proceed with extreme caution. There's no need to expedite his return, mild strain or not.

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David Ross has flu, won't manage Saturday's spring training opener

David Ross has flu, won't manage Saturday's spring training opener

David Ross' spring training managerial debut will have to wait until Sunday, at least.

The Cubs' first-year skipper has the flu and will miss Saturday's game against the Oakland A's. Bench coach Andy Green will be the acting manager in his place.

Saturday isn't going as planned for the North Siders. Besides Ross' absence, inclement weather in Arizona forced the club to push back first pitch from 2:10 p.m. CT to 7:10 p.m.

Weather permitting, here's the lineup the Cubs are rolling out tonight against Oakland:

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