The Rundown: Cubs Could Go After Jonny Gomes; Wood, Castillo Drawing Interest; Rule 5 Draft Today; Crazy Day for Dodgers

I’m not sure I know what to do with myself now that we don’t have Jon Lester rumors to obsess over. Somehow, I think I will manage.

It’s sounding like the rest of the Winter Meetings will be relatively quiet for the Cubs, with the possibility of a small free-agent signing such as Jonny Gomes. Buster Olney and others are reporting the Cubs have interest in the veteran outfielder.

I guess I’m OK with Gomes if his leadership skills really will make a difference. Joe Maddon is familiar with him from Tampa Bay, so I’m sure he has a good idea of what Gomes will bring to the table.

Gordon Wittenmyer writes that the Cubs are receiving interest in LHP Travis Wood from multiple teams, including the Phillies and Giants. Wood may be expendable now with the Cubs’ suddenly crowded pitching staff.

With catcher Miguel Montero joining the team, Wittenmyer says the Cubs are indeed shopping Welington Castillo. One interested team is the Phillies.

Another might be Montero’s former team, the Diamondbacks, according to Jack Magruder.

So at least for now, it doesn’t sounds like the Cubs will be pursuing that “big bat” we heard about the other day. Theo Epstein told Patrick Mooney on Wednesday that “It’s all about the long-term process,” dismissing the “all-in” mindset.

That makes sense, I think. We can’t get carried away. That said, I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that the Cubs could still make a trade for a big-name hitter later in the offseason. Personally I’d like to see infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist, if he were available.

Rule 5 Draft is today

The Rule 5 Draft will take place today at 11 a.m. Central. For those not familiar, the draft allows teams to snag minor league players from other squads. A player must be at least 19 years old, in professional baseball for at least four years, and not on a 40-man roster to be selected.

If a team picks a player, that player must remain on the major league 25-man roster for the entire season. Otherwise, the player is returned. Every once in a while, this ends up working out; such was the case when the Cubs selected current closer Hector Rondon from the Indians a couple years ago.

The Cubs 40-man sits at 38, so if they select a player in the draft, someone from the current 40-man will need to go to make room for Jon Lester and Jason Hammel, who haven’t been officially added yet.

Whether the Cubs select someone or not, the draft should be interesting. It’s possible a player gets plucked from the Cubs’ system. We’ll have to see what happens.

Separate from the Rule 5 Draft, according to Carrie Muskat, the Cubs are expected to receive a player today from the A’s to complete the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade. They also will have to send a player to the Red Sox to cap off the Felix Doubront trade.

Wednesday was Dodgers Day

On Monday, the White Sox had a big day, acquiring pitchers Jeff Samardzija and David Robertson. Then Tuesday, now known as LesterDay, it was the Cubs’ turn.

Well, Wednesday belonged to the Dodgers. Ken Rosenthal reports that LA is close to a deal for Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

Then the Dodgers reportedly traded shortstop Dee Gordon and Dan Haren (who could very well end up retiring) for four prospects, including LHP Andrew Heaney (a pretty good prospect who will likely start next year in the big leagues). In short, this was a great haul for the Dodgers.

Next, Rosenthal reported that the Dodgers were close to signing RHP Brandon McCarthy (Cubs fans can scratch that name off the list now).

And to top it off, the Dodgers turned around and traded the recently acquired Heaney for second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Angels.

Crazy night of moves. Wednesday shows why I worried about Andrew Friedman becoming president of baseball operations for the Dodgers. Not only will they be able to outspend teams at will, but they can outsmart them too.

Other notes

* Jon Lester’s deal with the Cubs will include a no-trade clause — the first of Theo Epstein’s tenure in Chicago, according to Patrick Mooney.

* Lester took to Twitter yesterday, interacting with both old and new fans. A simple gesture, but still very cool to see.

* Paul Sullivan writes that RHP Ervin Santana could be an intersting name for the Cubs to pursue, as long as it’s for a short-term deal. I’d be on board with that for sure, but doubt Santana would settle for that. It was sounding like the Twins were close to a deal with Santana yesterday, but Ken Rosenthal says the pitcher is still talking to “several” teams.

* Back to the wild Dodgers trade, this tweet from Andrew Heaney (who, keep in mind, was a Dodger for only a few hours) is pretty great:

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