The Rundown: Jordan Zimmermann-to-Cubs Rumor Shot Down, Carl Crawford a Trade Target?

And a new name emerges. Well, it did for a short while anyway.

Last night, Gordon Wittenmyer reported that the Cubs were in trade talks with the Nationals about RHP Jordan Zimmermann.

Zimmermann is only 28 (I was actually surprised to learn this — he has an old-looking face, I think) and has been an all-star both of the past two years.In 2014, he posted a 2.66 ERA (2.68 FIP) in 32 starts, and added an excellent start in the NLDS against the Giants (8.2 innings, one run, three hits).

Sounds great, right?

Just as we were having fun slotting Zimmermann into the top of the Cubs starting rotation next year, some cold water was thrown onto the party:

I’m not sure how much I loved the idea anyway, if it meant giving up Javier Baez, Addison Russell or Starlin Castro for a pitcher who could theoretically be signed next offseason. But definitely something to keep an eye on. According to Tom, the Cubs and Nationals did have preliminary discussions. So Zimmermann could be someone the Cubs pursue next season; we can assume they like him.

Wittenmyer also said in his article (although at this point, how believable is it?) that the Cubs could be looking to sign RHP Justin Masterson, and that Masterson would be willing to sign a low-cost one-year deal after a disappointing season in 2014. If those numbers are accurate, I’d definitely be OK with taking a chance on Masterson to see if he could rebound.

Crawford a possibility?

We have previously heard that the Dodgers were looking to deal an outfielder among Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier. Yesterday, Bruce Levine reported the Cubs may look to trade for Crawford to fill a left-handed-hitting OBP role.

He played for Joe Maddon in Tampa, and Theo Epstein signed him to play for the Red Sox before being traded to the Dodgers. On the surface, Crawford seems like a good fit, but I’d be worried about his ability to stay healthy, and you have to wonder how much longer his speed would last. (He’s 33.)

Also, if the Cubs help the Dodgers clear some cash, does that help them sign Jon Lester? Not sure it would make much of a difference either way, but just a thought. What do you guys think? Would he be a good fit?

Other notes

* It sounds like the Red Sox aren’t willing to go higher than their four-year, $70 million offer for Jon Lester, according to Nick Cafardo. Jed Hoyer told Cafardo that the starting pitching market may take a while to sort itself out, maybe up to a month. The Red Sox will probably continue to be linked to Lester until a deal is done, but I don’t think they end up landing him.

* Jesse Rogers writes about how the Braves’ Jason Heyward would be a perfect fit with the Cubs, even though they may have to wait a year to sign him in free agency. Heyward wouldn’t fit the typical mold of a free agent because he’s so young. He’s only 25. I’m all for this idea — big fan of Heyward’s. The Cubs reportedly asked about him in a trade for Jeff Samardzija this year, so it’s very likely they’re interested as well.

* Starlin Castro is recovering from his ankle injury suffered this past season, and is showing good mobility, Jed Hoyer tells Patrick Mooney. Good news, although from what I remember, Castro was coming along toward the end of the season and probably would’ve played if the games were more meaningful.

* It sounds like the Cubs are using a video to help lure potential high-profile free agents, according to Bruce Levine. Hey, if it works, then I’m all for it.

* Check out these great aerial shots of the Wrigley Field renovations from photographer Nick Ulivieri. Here’s a preview:

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