The Cubs are focusing a lot of attention this week on filling up outfield needs, including at least two big-name free agents — one of them very familiar.
NBC Sports Chicago's David Kaplan reported Tuesday the Cubs are one of several teams in on former Chicago left fielder Kyle Schwarber, one of the more coveted outfielders on the market.
They don't consider themselves a favorite to land Schwarber, but sources also told Kaplan and NBC Sports Chicago's Gordon Wittenmyer the Cubs' meeting with Japanese free agent Seiya Suzuki included chairman Tom Ricketts flying to Arizona Monday to make a pitch to the four-time NPB All-Star.
Ricketts showed up at the team's spring training complex on Tuesday morning and spent much of the day with the front office.
The Cubs are among a half dozen teams reportedly pursuing Suzuki, who's available to sign with any MLB team this offseason through the league's posting process.
The 27-year-old has spent his entire pro career with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp and is coming off a strong season in which he hit .317/.433/.639 with 38 home runs (a career-high) and 88 RBIs.
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He's also a strong defender with multiple Gold Gloves on his resume.
Schwarber has a number of teams interested in him, including reported strong interest by the Blue Jays. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported the competition for Schwarber "remains intense" on Tuesday.
Although some teams may view Schwarber as strictly a designated hitter, Cubs manager David Ross said he plans to be "flexible" with the extra spot in the lineup.
Many in the organization feel that Schwarber can handle left field well enough where they wouldn't have to commit the DH to him full-time.
He's a free agent for the first time in his career after an All-Star 2021 season with spent between the Nationals and Red Sox, following the Cubs' move to non-tender him last offseason.
MLB implemented the universal DH as part of the new collective bargaining agreement.
Team president Jed Hoyer was asked Monday if he expects to make a "significant addition" before Opening Day.
"Certainly, we're having a lot of conversations," Hoyer said. "I've done this too long to assume that anything gets across the finish line, so you try to keep a lot of balls in the air.
"Some of those may be, as you guys would deem, 'significant.' Some may not be. I never assume anything is going to get done until it's actually done."
Whether the Cubs land either outfielder, Hoyer has said he's not done adding to the roster.
Contributing: Gordon Wittenmyer
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