That team that seemed like the ideal trade partner for catcher Welington Castillo?
Well it appears it may not be so perfect. Diamondbacks General Manager Dave Stewart said yesterday that his team will not be looking for a catcher, writes the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro. The D-Backs instead will rest their hopes on catching prospect Peter O’Brien, who was acquired in the Martin Prado trade with the Yankees last year.
So as long as Stewart is being genuine here (which he very well may not be), the Cubs will need to look elsewhere for a Castillo trade. The Tribune’s Marc Gonzales mentions the Rangers as a possibility.
In a separate article, Piecoro writes that Arizona remains interested in free-agent pitcher James Shields, even after signing Cuban RHP Yoan Lopez. Stewart says Shields sees the D-Backs as a “true baseball team vs. some of the other teams out here that are geared more toward analytics and those type of things.”
Sounds like a conversation right up Hawk Harrelson’s alley.
Castro in Arizona
Cubs position players are not due to report for Spring Training until Feb. 24, but Starlin Castro is getting a head start. According to Castro’s agent, the shortstop is already in Arizona working out, writes Marc Gonzales.
Castro has had a busy offseason (news-wise) in the Dominican Republic, where he was questioned — but not charged — for two separate shootings.
I’m sure Castro is ready to get a new season started after missing the final month of 2014 with an ankle injury. I’m really looking forward to finally getting to see him in a lineup with Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Jorge Soler (and eventually Kris Bryant).
* Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada still has not been cleared to sign in the U.S., but he will be conducting seven workouts with undisclosed teams this month, according to Jesse Sanchez. One of those teams likely will be the Dodgers, Sanchez says. We know the Cubs are interested, so they could be one of the teams getting a workout. We’ll just have to keep those fingers crossed that Moncada doesn’t sign before July.
* First baseman Anthony Rizzo makes David Schoenfield’s “all-underrated” team. Schoenfield admits that many people are aware that Rizzo is a great talent, but argues people may not realize how great he was in 2014. He points out that Rizzo had a higher OBP and slugging percentage than Miguel Cabrera and a higher WAR than Jose Abreu. If Rizzo keeps playing like he did in 2014, he won’t be underrated for long I don’t think.
* Patrick Mooney wonders if the Cubs have one more big move in them this offseason, as it could be tough to “flip a switch” with the young players and become competitive. If they do decide to hang on to their top trade chips for now, he suggests the Cubs may, at the very least, decide to flip Welington Castillo and Travis Wood (Castillo’s name expected, Wood’s interesting but not unexpected). He also wonders if they hold off for an in-season trade or wait to see what happens with Cole Hamels. I think the Cubs stand pat for now, aside from a likely deal for Castillo. But next season’s trade deadline could be interesting.
* Junior Lake had a couple of hits and runs scored last night for Estrelles de Oriente in winter ball. Mariners star second baseman Robinson Cano played his first game with the team, going 1-for-4 with a double and three RBI.