The tone of the rumors for the early part of the Cubs offseason has been that of salary-cutting and not saying they are connected to high-priced free agents.
Even when it has come to their own players, Cole Hamels and Nicholas Castellanos, the rumors weren’t positive. Hamels landed with the Braves on a one-year deal and a recent report said there’s “not a chance” Castellanos returns.
The Cubs are supposedly trying to get under the luxury tax and still have some work to do on that front even if Castellanos doesn’t return.
With that context out of the way, here’s a rumor that fights the recent narrative. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports that the Cubs have real interest in Dallas Keuchel.
From a roster perspective, Keuchel makes some sense. Hamels’ departure means the Cubs could want an upgrade in their rotation. Keuchel would help solidify a longer-term future for the Cubs’ rotation (Jon Lester and Jose Quintana are free agents after 2020).
That said, it seems unlikely the Cubs would want another long-term contract on the books for what could be near $20 million per year. Either the Cubs aren’t worried about the luxury tax or they aren’t in on Keuchel unless a series of salary dump moves occur first.
On top of that, there are cheaper alternatives on the pitching side and reasonable in-house candidates to take the fifth rotation spot behind Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, Lester and Quintana. Josh Lindblom is one external candidate who wouldn’t be expensive and the Cubs have apparently been in talks with.
Source: #Cubs, free agent Josh Lindblom have had discussions this offseason, but it appears other clubs are more heavily involved now. Lindblom, the 2019 KBO MVP, grew up in West Lafayette, Ind., fewer than 150 miles from Wrigley Field. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 9, 2019
The Keuchel rumor could be as simple as the Cubs exploring all avenues and doing their due diligence with the 31-year-old. If it comes to fruition, it could mean the Cubs are in for a busier offseason than expected.
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