Here is your Thursday supply of Chicago Cubs newsbits:
From Comcast Sportsnet Chicago:
- Patrick Mooney reports that the Cubs will go big-game hunting in free agency. The Cubs are planning to have sit-downs with representatives for top free agents David Price, Zack Greinke and Jordan Zimmermann. Johnny Cueto isn't high on the list. They've also touched base with reps for Jeff Samardzija.
- Patrick also says that the Cubs are keeping Miguel Montero in their 2016 plans. For now. The catcher is owed 28 million dollars over the next two seasons, and that's money that could be applied elsewhere.
From CBS Chicago:
- Theo Epstein: Cubs must choose the risk that they're comfortable with. The difficult part is weighing the downside of every move. Includes audio interview.
- Bruce Levine writes that the Cubs are looking for outfield help at the GM meetings. Dexter Fowler is likely headed elsewhere. Denard Span and Gerardo Parra are leading candidates, though Parra has question marks. Marcell Ozuna, Brett Gardner, and Jason Heyward are possibilities. Kris Bryant and Javier Baez aren't.
- Former Cubs manager Rick Renteria, now the White Sox bench coach, says there were "no hard feelings" after he was let go by the Cubs a year ago. "It's just business," he said.
From ESPN Chicago:
- Jesse Rogers also reports that the Cubs are to meet with representatives of top free agent pitchers, though they won't stop there. The Cubs are casting a wide net.
- Christina Kahrl writes that Next-Generation defenders have Golden-Glovely futures. Addison Russell is a player to watch at shortstop. Jorge Soler may bear watching as well, given that baserunners didn't often advance on him. Hmm.
- Jesse opines that the Cubs should take home three individual awards from the voting by the Baseball Writers of America. Jake Arrieta is in contention for the Cy Young, Kris Bryant is a slam dunk for Rookie of the Year, and Joe Maddon is a finalist for the Manager of the Year award.
From the Chicago Tribune:
- Mark Gonzales continues the Cubs position-by-position analysis with a look at the outfield. Contract status, breakdowns, discussion of the issues facing the Cubs. Jonny Gomes, Alex Gordon, Jason Heyward are available in free agency. Soler has promise. Kyle Schwarber is adequate. Chris Coghlan and Fowler are probably gone.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
- Rick Morrissey writes too late, Jed Hoyer: Expectations should be that Cubs will win it all in 2016. It's all about a championship. Hoyer wants to temper expectations.
- Kyle Thele reports that Bill James' projections have Cubs lining up a murderer's row on offense. As previously reported elsewhere on Bleed Cubbie Blue, the Cubs' bats are possibly going to have a banner year.
From Bleacher Nation:
- Brett Taylor writes about another Cubs-Alex Gordon mention, and he'd like to discuss Dexter Fowler. They're not really related, except for money. Brett prefers Denard Span anyway. He likes Albert Almora too. But Fowler makes sense.
- Cubs Insider: Evan Altman gives us the Rundown: Epstein tempers expectations and hints at strategy, plus Tommy Hanson and Jose Reyes info. The Cubs definitely have to get creative, and don't have unlimited funds.
- MLB Trade Rumors: Cubs Notes: free agent starters, payroll, Montero. The Cubs are still following the plan to build a consistent contender, and not gunning for a 2016 title at all costs. Dealing Montero hasn't been considered, repeats Epstein.
- Inquisitr: Chicago Cubs Rumors: Alex Gordon close to signing with Cubs. Elaborating on a Jerry Crasnick tweet. Might be a blank, but taking a shot.
Food for thought:
- Astronomers spot most distant object in the solar system. Could point to other rogue planets. Scientists will have to determine the dwarf planet's orbit first. It was discovered by a "Subaru".
- [Video] Not an 800-pound gorilla, but an alligator, found at a Houston-area shopping center. Gojiro?
- [Video] Fisherman finds kangaroo swimming in the middle of a lake. I didn't know the beasts could do that. Good thing the alligator was elsewhere.