What's next for Garza: Extension or trade?

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What's next for Garza: Extension or trade?

David Kaplan reported earlier this week the Cubs' front office may be in the business of a complete rebuild. The Sean Marshall trade could be the first step in that.

Will Matt Garza be next?

Theo Epstein has already said Garza is exactly the type of pitcher teams try to build around. He reiterated that same point Friday after the Marshall trade became official, but proposed another possibility.

"It's hard to find top-of-the-rotation type guys, so if you have them and there's a way to keep them around, that's always compelling for the club," the new Cubs president said.

Does that mean an extension could be in the works?

Not necessarily.

"That said, we've been honest with you guys too where we're in a mode where we have to listen on everybody," Theo went on to say. "Now, if there's a way to improve the long-term outlook for this club in a significant manner, we can't look past opportunities like that. We're not in a situation where we have to do anything with Garza. But generally, we're in the business right now of taking our short-term assets and turning them into long-term assets.

"In the case of Marshall, that ends up happening through a trade. We take a short-term asset, one year of Sean Marshall, and turned it what we hope will be three long-term assets. Five years of Travis Wood and the entire careers of two interesting prospects.

"So in the case of Matt Garza, perhaps nothing happens or perhaps we're able to convert him into a long-term asset by extending him on a deal that makes sense for everybody. There's always an active trade market for top-of-the rotation guys with multiple years of control."

With the recent trades around the MLB, the Cubs may be able to fetch quite a haul for a guy like Garza. A package that could make the team's future significantly brighter.

But then again, if the team needs starting pitching both now and in the future and a guy like Garza is exactly the type of guy teams want to build around, an extension -- much like the one John Danks just got on the South Side -- makes sense, too.

The idea of trading Garza has been prevalent throughout the entire offseason thus far, but that hasn't put any undue pressure on Theo or his front office staff.

"We aren't rushing into anything with Matt Garza," Epstein said. "We don't take lightly what it means to have a top-of-the-rotation-type guy in-house and one that you'd potentially be able to keep long term."

Tyson Ross could be one of the final pieces for Cubs’ offseason puzzle

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AP

Tyson Ross could be one of the final pieces for Cubs’ offseason puzzle

Tyson Ross could be one of the final pieces of the offseason puzzle as the Cubs try to defend their World Series title while still planning for the future.

The Cubs left this week’s winter meetings in Maryland still involved in the Ross talks, sources said, monitoring an intriguing pitcher they had targeted before the 2015 trade deadline.

The San Diego Padres didn’t really buy or sell during that pennant race and made another curious decision last week when they didn’t offer Ross a contract for 2017. MLB Trade Rumors projected Ross would have made $9.6 million during his final year in the arbitration system.

After issues involving his right shoulder wiped out almost his entire season, Ross underwent surgery in October to address thoracic outlet syndrome.

Ross was San Diego’s Opening Day starter during a 15-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but didn’t pitch again, clouding a future that once had him looking like a trade-deadline chip and one of the best pitchers in the free-agent class after the 2017 season.

That’s when Jake Arrieta will be looking for his megadeal and John Lackey might be in retirement and Jon Lester will be turning 34. That’s why the Cubs are so focused on pitching this winter and trying to balance out an organization tilted toward hitters.

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Kyle Hendricks proved he will be a pitcher to build around – and the Cubs believe Mike Montgomery can evolve from a swingman into a fifth starter and maybe something far more valuable – but depth is a real issue.

Ross made 30-plus starts in 2014 and 2015, when he earned an All-Star selection and accounted for almost 400 innings combined. He will turn 30 in April and is seen as a positive force within the clubhouse. He has a 6-foot-6 frame, a second-round-pick pedigree and a Cal-Berkeley education.

Reports have already linked the Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates to Ross and not completely ruled out a return to San Diego. During an offseason where the free-agent market is essentially devoid of reliable frontline starters, there could be sticker shock, even with a rehabbing pitcher.

Trading for Wade Davis meant the Cubs were out of the bidding for Greg Holland, another All-Star closer who helped turn the Kansas City Royals into World Series champions. Holland spent this year recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, but he will still be in position to capitalize after Mark Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and eventually Kenley Jansen reset the market for closers.

With Ross, the Cubs will have to get a better sense of the medical picture and the price for all that upside.

Beyond a winning culture, the Cubs can sell the pitching infrastructure that helped turn Arrieta into a Cy Young Award winner and transform Hendricks into an ERA leader and keep the rotation remarkably healthy.

“Those really talented pitchers are going to be in demand, even those that are coming off an injury,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said this week at National Harbor. “We’ll stay engaged on some of those guys, but they’ll have to be just the right talent.

“We’ll have to feel good about the medical and the return to play. And the fit on the club would have to be right, too. But the true elite guys have a real market, even if they’re coming off down seasons.”

Cubs' MVP Kris Bryant signs multi-year extension with Adidas

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USA TODAY

Cubs' MVP Kris Bryant signs multi-year extension with Adidas

Kris Bryant just keeps on winning in 2016.

Two months after leading the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years, Bryant signed a multi-year extension with Adidas.

"It's a phenomenal time to be partnered with Adidas with all the energy and momentum that the brand has right now," Bryant said via a press release. "Adidas embraced me as part of the family from the start."

Bryant was named National League MVP after hitting .292 with 39 homers and 102 RBIs. He hit .308 with three homers and 8 RBIs in the postseason.

Bryant first signed with Adidas in 2014 after the Cubs made him the No. 2 pick in the 2013 MLB Draft.