12/4 Rumor mill
Who will play third for the Cubs? There are reports that the Cubs are interested in Marlins shortstop Yunel Escobar. Why would the team add another shortstop? The Cubs want a third baseman and Escobar is a possibility, although he has not done so on a regular basis since 2007, his rookie season with the Braves. Escobar, 30, has a .282 batting average in six seasons. He made headlines last season in a negative way when he was suspended after writing a gay slur on his eye-black.
MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports Rangers GM Jon Daniels is getting inquiries about third baseman Mike Olt but isn’t motivated to trade him. The Rangers feel Olt could be important to them because Nelson Cruz, Michael Young and David Murphy are all free agents after the 2013 season.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports Ian Stewart is drawing interest from teams looking for a third baseman. Expect the Yankees to check on Stewart.
The Cubs also are talking to teams as they search for a right fielder. The Indians are reportedly shopping Shin-Soo Choo, who batted .283 last season with 16 home runs, 43 doubles, and posted an OPS of .815. Choo is arbitration eligible, and earned $4.9 million last season.
What about pitching? The Cubs also are believed to be interested in free agent Brandon McCarthy. They’re not alone. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Red Sox, White Sox, Royals, Diamondbacks and Twins also are talking to the right-hander. McCarthy, 29, began his career with the White Sox, and has also pitched for the Rangers. He was 8-6 with a 3.24 ERA in 18 starts last season with the A’s before getting hit in the head with a line drive.
— Carrie Muskat