Chicago Cubs: Breaking down the latest free agent rumors

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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Gardner would fit in Chicago, but could be back in New York

For years, I’ve really liked what Brett Gardner brings to the table. Before he signed his extension with New York, I desperately wanted him to patrol the outfield at Wrigley Field. Now, poised to hit free agency this winter, it appears as if the veteran is staying put.

According to Jon Heyman, the two sides are discussing a new deal with Gardner coming off the best offensive season of his career at age 36. That’s not to suggest the Yankees don’t have other options – youngsters Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier are waiting in the wings – but the gritty veteran undoubtedly brings that established presence to the table.

Of course, one of the Chicago Cubs’ most glaring needs is center field. Albert Almora may very well be non-tendered or traded and Ian Happ projects more as a utility player than an everyday center fielder.

Jason Heyward could play center, but is far superior in right field, where he’s spent the majority of his career. Gardner might make sense for Chicago – but it looks like it might not even be worth the time to discuss the fit with the outfielder talking with the team he’s spent his entire 12-year career with.

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Aside from the hiring of a new bullpen coach to replace the outgoing Lester Strode and the team moving on from Chris Denorfia as the quality assurance coach, there’s been little news for the Cubs so far. That will change, though – and even though they’re not tied directly to these guys, moves tend to have a ripple effect in the offseason.