With no clear front-runner for either starting pitcher just over five weeks from Spring Training, any bit of news seems to be a spark for speculation. That being said, a report from Saturday indicated that the Oakland Athletics will not be a late entry for the pair of aces, which comes as little of a surprise given the team’s moves earlier this offseason.
Earlier this offseason, the Boston Red Sox did meet with Shields, but apparently have had no talks with the right-hander since that point in time. In other trade news, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will supposedly seek to deal Josh Hamilton before his contract expires. That being said, he’s likely to begin the year with the Angels because his stock couldn’t go much lower after a disappointing season.
In Cubs-related news, both Chicago teams could make sense for Tampa Bay Rays utility man Ben Zobrist – given the Cubs’ need and the fact that Zobrist has played his entire big league career for now-Chicago manager Joe Maddon. The rumor mill for Welington Castillo remains at a standstill – but he still appears set to be traded before camp breaks in Arizona next month.
“Welington Castillo and the Cubs – where do we stand?” – Cubbies Crib
“Zobrist a great fit for both Chicago teams” – CBS Chicago
“Any free agents up the A’s sleeves?” – MLB.com
“Whatever happened to the Cubs’ Junior Lake?” – Cubbies Crib