The Rundown: Tuesday Is Roster Deadline Day, Trade Activity Expected to Increase, Shortstop Carousel Continues, So Long J-Hey

The Cubs are going to have to add some eligible minor leaguers to the 40-man roster today or risk losing them to free agency. I’d say Brennen Davis, Ben Brown, and Kevin Alcántara are all locks. Kohl Franklin and Yonathan Perlaza are strong options, too. As Evan Altman mentioned last week, Matt Mervis does not need to be added at this time. It will be interesting to see what the Cubs do with Ryan Jensen, Jake Slaughter, and Cam Sanders.

Chicago is holding on to a couple of players who should send a Starbucks gift card to Jed Hoyer — looking at you Alfonso Rivas, and Mark Leiter Jr. Of course, Tuesday’s roster is not final and some players will be jettisoned as the Cubs make trades and sign free agents.

The Rays are one team that has been linked to the Cubs as a potential partner. Tyler Glasnow is the big fish and Chicago has enough depth at the lower level to help with Tampa Bay’s roster crunch. Does the first domino fall for the Cubs today? A good possibility exists that it will.

Another guy I like in that system is Ronny Simon, an infielder who is not among the Rays’ top 30 prospects despite hitting 22 homers with 34 steals this year across two levels. You may have read about his exploits in the Arizona Fall League, where he shined for the Mesa Solar Sox. The Rays may not have room to add Simon to their roster.

If the Cubs decide to deploy an opener as a regular part of their 2023 rotation, Shawn Armstrong is a player they might pursue. The 32-year-old righty could be another victim of Tampa Bay’s roster crunch.

The Brewers have a logjam of their own so they are rumored to be active in the trade market. Milwaukee is unlikely to trade with the Cubs, but a deal is not impossible. I just don’t see where the two teams match up and there is no way in hell the Brewers will send Corbin Burnes or Brandon Woodruff to Chicago.

The Dodgers have a big decision to make with Cody Bellinger, who could become the first Rookie of the Year and league MVP to be non-tendered before qualifying for free agency. I believe Bellinger will become a Cub if he’s set free. He’s only 27 and his ceiling is still as high as his floor is low, though expectations are not lofty. That sounds a little like Kyle Schwarber two winters ago.

There has been a ton of Cubs chatter with a lot of mixed signals. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been unable to decipher exactly what Jed Hoyer intends to do this winter. I don’t think he’ll spend for one of the top pitchers and it’s tough to tell if any of the shortstops are a financial fit. I’m even starting to doubt the veracity of the rumors involving José Abreu and Koudai Senga. What if Chicago’s big additions are Bellinger, Armstrong, David Robertson, Corey Kluber, and Drew Rasmussen? There could be a riot at this year’s Cubs Convention.

Hug Watch

So long Jason Heyward. Please accept my digital hug and my wish for the best in your future endeavors. I hope life brings you back to Chicago someday as a coach, consultant, Marquee studio analyst, or club executive. Cherish that ring, too. Thousands of Cubs before you could only hope to be so blessed.

‘‘What I’ve taken most from it is, how do we handle failure?’’ Heyward said in a news conference in September. ‘‘Because that’s a big part of life, obviously, but it’s a big part of this game. We’re always going to fail more times than we succeed. And I know that’s cliché, but how we handle those things, that comes back your way.’’

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Kris Bryant is not alone in his distaste for St. Louis.

Tuesday Stove

Former Dodgers star Yasiel Puig agreed to plea guilty to a federal charge of lying to federal law enforcement officials about sports bets he played with an illegal gambling operation, the Justice Department said Monday, citing recently unsealed court documents.

Michael Harris II and Julio Rodríguez have been named the National and American League Rookies of the Year.

The Phillies have “real interest” in Bogaerts.

The Red Sox are among the many teams to show interest in Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds.

The Mariners will be a top suitor for Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida this offseason according to Jon Morosi.

Also from Morosi: Left-hander starter Martín Pérez is likely to accept the Rangers qualifying offer.

The Astros have Willson Contreras on their radar per this tweet from Jon Heyman.

Multiple teams are interested in Mets reliever Seth Lugo as a potential starter. In 38 career starts, Lugo is 15-10 with a 4.35 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, and 174 strikeouts in 194 2/3 innings. In 237 relief appearances, Lugo has a 2.91 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 334 strikeouts in 300 innings.

The ageless Jesse Chavez has signed on for another season with the Braves.

Relief pitchers have done well during the first two weeks of free agency. Edwin Díaz, Rafael Montero, and Robert Suárez have all signed multi-year contracts.

Atlanta may have some interest in Heyward as well.

Clubhouse Stomp

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic is always a good source of hot stove information. Here’s a downsized version of his latest from What I’m Hearing…($)

The asking prices of Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, and Carlos Rodón are quite high.

Verlander seems like a good bet to remain in Houston, and the Astros have identified Anthony Rizzo as their No. 1 free-agent target at first base.

Lesser starters who did not receive qualifying offers (Andrew Heaney, José Quintana, etc.) also are drawing considerable interest.

The Braves won’t consider another free-agent shortstop if Dansby Swanson leaves.

Rosenthal reported Monday that multiple teams are “indicating a strong willingness to spend,” listing the  Mets, Phillies, Giants, Red Sox, Rangers, and Mariners.

Extra Innings

Nobody has ever said anything bad about Vin Scully because it’s impossible to do so. He was a baseball immortal while he was with us, and he is without a doubt spinning baseball yarns wherever he calls home now.

Tuesday Morning Six-Pack

  1. The Bears lost to the Lions on Sunday and went from being 1.5 games out of a playoff spot to the sixth-worst team in the league in the process.
  2. Justin Fields and Cole Kmet had huge games for the second straight week, but losing “fun” is still losing.
  3. “Wakanda Forever” is the latest Marvel flick and it had a huge debut at the box office. In fact, it is the best November release of all time.
  4. I miss seeing the cameos of the late Stan Lee in the newer MCU releases, but we have the internet for just such occasions, thankfully.
  5. Former President Trump, whose preferred candidates largely flopped in the midterms, is expected to announce he’s running for POTUS 2.0 in 2024. He’ll have to win the nomination first unless he starts his own party, which is not out of the realm of possibility. Grover Cleveland is the only president to leave the White House and return later for a second term. No president of any nation has lost two consecutive reelection bids. I fancy myself a Vermin Supreme man, in case you’re wondering.
  6. Jon Hamm wants you to know that the World Cup starts this Sunday. I hope that doesn’t interrupt the work he’s doing for Trea Turner or the delivery of everything on my Christmas list.

They Said It

  • “It really takes one domino to fall to start that process. But sometimes it takes a long time for that domino to fall. It’ll be interesting to see when it does.” – Carter Hawkins
  • “[Correa is] the Dior of defense. The Hermes of hitting. The Louis IV of leadership. The Prada of the postseason. It’s a one-stop-shop for a championship designer.” – Scott Boras
  • “Bogey’s our first choice. That’s not going to change. Part of our job is to explore every option to field a contending team next year and put together a really good group. We need to explore every possible way to do that, but [Bogaerts is] our first choice.” – Chaim Bloom, Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer

Tuesday Walk-Up Song

If “Nighthawks at the Diner” is not in your music collection you should fix that ASAP. It’s been my favorite live album for four decades.

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