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cubs look to solidify closer situation with brandon morrow, while not ruling out


the cubs knew the odds were stacked against them in their pursuit of shohei ohtani. now they hope to gain some stability in their search for a closer.they could learn as soon as tuesday night whether their two-year, $21 million deal with free agent brandon morrow can be finalized, and they’re not ruling out re-signing wade davis.“it’s fine having someone who hasn’t done it or done it consistently before,” president theo epstein said monday. “but it makes sense to name a closer just so you can establish roles. relievers are human beings and they enjoy knowing what their role is, approximately when they (will) pitch, so they can get ready for that responsibility.”an agreement with morrow, 33, will be announced as soon as he passes a physical. the deal includes a $12 million option (or $3 mil






brandon morrow signing a good start in rebuild of cubs bullpen


the cubs aimed high in the crowded free-agent relief market and got the man they wanted before the first day of the winter meetings in orlando, fla.brandon morrow, who reportedly agreed to a two-year, $21 million deal, was one of the most reliable middle relievers the last two years and should improve a cubs bullpen that appears likely to lose closer wade davis.president theo epstein told reporters at the winter meetings the cubs still hope to re-sign davis, but that seems like wishful thinking.morrow’s $9 million salary in 2018 is tied for seventh-highest among relievers, so he’s getting closer’s money.either way, epstein said he can be “selectively aggressive” after getting a few deals done early, which suggests the cubs can now focus on in-demand starting pitcher alex cobb while remaini






dodgers pitcher brandon morrow close to signing with cubs


brandon morrow, the right-handed reliever who emerged as one of the dodgers most reliable arms in the 2017 postseason, is close to signing a two-year agreement with the chicago cubs, according to people familiar with the situation.the people requested anonymity because the contract was pending a physical, and morrow dealt with a bevy of injuries before starring for the dodgers in 2017. the contract will net morrow between $10 million and $11 million a year, according to fan rag sports.morrow joined the dodgers on a minor-league contract in january. he opened the year with triple-a oklahoma city. called up in may, morrow finished the season with a 2.06 earned-run average. he pitched in all seven games of the world series.by letting morrow leave, the dodgers have continued a well-established






cubs reach 2-year deal with reliever brandon morrow


in their latest attempt to upgrade their pitching staff, the cubs reached a two-year agreement sunday with free-agent reliever brandon morrow.a source at the winter meetings confirmed the agreement, as the cubs have been looking to sign morrow to possibly fill the closer’s role because of the potential departure of fellow free agent wade davis.morrow, 33, has posted a 1.96 era in 63 appearances over the last two seasons with the padres and dodgers. since making the conversion from starter to reliever, morrow’s velocity has hovered in the upper 90s.morrow helped the dodgers advance to the 2017 world series by posting a 6-0 record and 2.06 era in 46 appearances, striking out 50 in 43 2/3 innings. morrow hasn’t allowed a home run since sept. 8, 2016.the agreement will be official once morrow






cubs reach 2-year deal with reliever brandon morrow


while 2019 seems like a reasonable target for the white sox to begin contending, the future is now for the cubs.their sense of urgency has been apparent, especially after they agreed to terms sunday on a two-year deal with free-agent reliever brandon morrow on the opening day of the winter meetings.morrow’s deal, which will become official after he passes a physical, helps stabilize the back end of the bullpen, which figures to lose closer wade davis. the agreement with morrow comes three days after the cubs signed free-agent starter tyler chatwood to a three-year, $38 million contract to help offset the potential losses of jake arrieta and john lackey.a cubs source said the team was far from done trying to improve its roster, as efforts to sign free-agent starter alex cobb remain strong.






cubs place wade davis on paternity list, recall dylan floro


the cubs will be without the services of closer wade davis for the second consecutive game.davis was placed on the paternity list prior to monday night's game against the miami marlins. davis didn't pitch sunday night after working the previous two games.davis, 31, is 2-0 with 12 saves and an 0.89 era in 21 appearances.reliever dylan floro was recalled from triple-a iowa, where he had a 4.01 era in 14 appearances.davis can spend up to three days on the paternity list.






cubs' biggest playoff weapon may be closer wade davis


there are no sure things in october, but the one big edge the cubs seemingly have in this national league division series against the nationals is closer wade davis. history tell us he was made for the big stage, and he's back after a one-year absence. in 23 postseason appearances with the rays and the royals, including one start in 2010 at tampa bay, davis has compiled a sterling 0.84 era. ben zobrist, who played with davis on the royals' 2015 world series champions, said having a lockdown closer like davis is a huge asset this time of year. "he's a stud," zobrist said tuesday after the cubs' workout at wrigley field. "he's a guy who has been through it. he has the postseason experience and everybody knows he has ice in his veins. "there's no moment that's going to get the best of him. it






wade davis: cubs' outfield as good as any in majors


wade davis hasn't forgotten the air-tight outfield that played behind him in kansas city, so he has a pretty good idea of the potential of the cubs' outfield."this is as good as any others," the cubs closer said after albert almora jr. put on a defensive clinic in thursday's 4-0 win over the dodgers. "it seems like there’s a lot of good communication. there’s a good feel for what everybody is doing out there."during his time with the royals, davis appreciated four-time gold glove left fielder alex gordon and speedster lorenzo cain in center field.but davis has taken note of the cubs' outfield skills since joining the team in mesa, ariz."almora, from watching him in spring training, and seeing what he does, is pretty special," davis said. "(kyle) schwarber is getting good reads. and (jason)






wade davis blows first save of season in cubs' 10-inning loss to brewers


wade davis' first blown save of the season came at the end of nine days of heavy work, so the cubs' all-star closer will receive at least one day of rest.davis had converted his first 32 save opportunities of 2017 before saturday afternoon, when he surrendered a tying home run to orlando arcia in the ninth and a two-run walk-off homer to travis shaw with one out in the 10th that gave the brewers a 4-3 win at miller park.davis, one of the few cubs who has performed at a high level all season, received no blame after the game."there was no way, shape or form to point a finger at wade," said manager joe maddon, who would have employed hector rondon in the 10th had the cubs not taken a 3-2 lead on jon jay's single that drove in ian happ.the cubs' magic number to clinch the national league cent






qualifying offer decisions await cubs and free agents jake arrieta, wade davis


the chicago cubs are likely to make a qualifying offer to free agent jake arrieta and could do the same for closer wade davis by monday’s 4 p.m. deadline.by making an offer of $17.4 million to arrieta, the cubs are assured of a compensation pick in the 2018 draft if arrieta rejects the offer and signs with another team.davis is the top free agent closer on the market, and the cubs currently don’t have a full-time replacement for him. davis, 32, converted 32 of 33 save chances in 2017.the $17.4 million qualifying offer is $200,000 more than the annual average of the five-year, $86 million contract given by the new york yankees to aroldis chapman.should davis accept the offer, it would resolve one of the cubs’ questions for 2018.free agents who receive qualifying offers have 10 days to accep






cubs should focus on re-signing wade davis, let jake arrieta walk


the only way up for the cubs in 2018 is at least to make it to the world series, and the retooling begins next week at the general mangers meetings in orlando, fla.adding starting pitching and a closer are the focus of this offseason, which figures to be interesting after the cubs’ flaws were exposed during the postseason.the first big question the cubs face is whether it’s feasible to keep either jake arrieta or wade davis, both of whom received qualifying offers. bidding wars are inevitable, and signing both seems impossible.arrieta will get his seven-year megadeal from someone, perhaps even the dodgers, so it’s easier to write him off. thanks for the memories, jake, and don’t forget to tweet.the cubs’ focus should be on re-signing davis, the best available closer on the market who will






cubs should focus on re-signing wade davis, let jake arrieta walk


the only way up for the cubs in 2018 is to at least make it back to the world series, and the retooling begins next week at the general mangers meetings in orlando, fla.adding starting pitching and a closer are the focus of this offseason, which figures to be interesting after the cubs’ flaws were exposed during the postseason.the first big question the cubs face is whether it’s feasible to keep either jake arrieta or wade davis, both of whom received qualifying offers. bidding wars are inevitable, and signing both seems impossible.arrieta will get his seven-year megadeal from someone, perhaps even the dodgers, so it’s easier to write him off. thanks for the memories, jake, and don’t forget to tweet.the cubs’ focus should be on re-signing davis, the best available closer on the market who






cubs hope closer wade davis returns but believe plenty of options are available


the cubs have made no secret they're focusing on pitching help this winter, including a couple of new starters and perhaps a new closer.the rays' alex cobb is one of their primary targets for the rotation, while they are looking at a number of options for the closer role. re-signing wade davis remains one of them, but it depends on what kind of deal davis is seeking and whether the cubs can get creative on a contract."we'll certainly engage with him, and he knows that we're not known for giving long, multiyear deals to relievers," president theo epstein said monday on the first day of the general managers meetings. "but it's definitely worth talking."the astros and cardinals are expected to be among davis' most interested suitors, and he's clearly the best closer on the market. but epstein






nlcs game 4: cubs 3, dodgers 2


brian cassella / chicago tribunecubs closer wade davis (71) and catcher willson contreras (40) celebrate the 3-2 win.cubs closer wade davis (71) and catcher willson contreras (40) celebrate the 3-2 win. (brian cassella / chicago tribune)see more galleries






brandon morrow shuts down cubs in top of seventh


brandon morrow is still pitching for the dodgers.albert almora grounded to short.addison russell struck out swinging.jason heyward flied to shallow center, with chris taylor making a nice running catch.it's seventh-inning stretch time.






price must be right for cubs in their pursuit of pitching


the free agent pitching market is starting to thaw and the prices could present an expensive situation for the cubs and other pitching-thirsty teams.the biggest beneficiary of mike minor’s reported three-year, $28 million contract is brandon morrow, whose durability and performance was slightly better than minor, who missed the 2015-16 seasons because of a left shoulder injury that required surgery but rebounded in 2017 with a a 2.55 era and 88 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings with the royals.minor, whom the cubs were interested in before the july 31 trade deadline, could revert to a starting role that he held with the braves earlier in his career.morrow, meanwhile, caught the attention of cubs manager joe maddon well before the 2017 national league championship series, in which morrow allowed






cubs squander late leads against brewers as made-for-october showdown continues


wade davis' first blown save of the season came at the end of nine days of heavy work, so the cubs' all-star closer will receive at least one day of rest. davis had converted his first 32 save opportunities of 2017 before saturday afternoon, when he surrendered a tying home run to orlando arcia... (mark gonzales)






carl edwards jr. looking more and more like cubs' closer of the future


the cubs have their closer of the future should wade davis earn a lucrative free-agent contract in the winter.carl edwards jr. joined davis to become the cubs' first relief combination to each allow no earned runs in the first month while pitching at least 10 innings."he's going to keep getting better and better," manager joe maddon said of edwards, 25, whom the cubs have nurtured since he made the transition from minor-league starter in 2015. "he'll be a closer someday, there's no doubt."the biggest thing is to not abuse him as he's getting bigger and stronger. his stuff plays against righties and lefties and he knows how to pitch, having been a starter for a bit."edwards earned two saves last season and came within one out of earning the save in game 7 of the world series.the cubs still






cubs closer wade davis reunited with manager joe maddon


mesa, ariz. (ap) — wade davis was a promising starting pitcher when he made his major league debut for joe maddon and the tampa bay rays almost eight years ago. then he was a reliever, and then a starter again and then a reliever.now he gets the ball from maddon once again — only this time as the closer for the chicago cubs.much has changed for davis over the years, and not much at the same time.“the only way he’s changed is he is a relief pitcher,” a chuckling maddon said. “he was a starter when i first met him. he’s the same cat. he’s very deliberate in his methods and even conversationally.”most read storiesunlimited digital access. $1 for 4 weeks.that’s just fine with maddon, who is hoping for more of the same from davis after a dominant run with kansas city. while the dodgers, giants






cubs closer wade davis reunited with manager joe maddon


mesa, ariz. — wade davis was a promising starting pitcher when he made his major league debut for joe maddon and the tampa bay rays almost eight years ago. then he was a reliever, and then a starter again and then a reliever.now he gets the ball from maddon once again — only this time as the closer for the chicago cubs.much has changed for davis over the years, and not much at the same time."the only way he's changed is he is a relief pitcher," a chuckling maddon said. "he was a starter when i first met him. he's the same cat. he's very deliberate in his methods and even conversationally."that's just fine with maddon, who is hoping for more of the same from davis after a dominant run with kansas city. while the dodgers, giants and yankees spent big money on closers over the winter, the wor






series preview: rays at cubs


there’s a four-letter word that manager joe maddon doesn’t mind hearing in response to those upset that only one chicago cubs player — closer wade davis — is assured of going to the all-star game july 11 at miami.rest.after completing a 20-game jaunt that saw the cubs all but three games away... (mark gonzales)






wade davis takes over as closer for the chicago cubs


mesa, ariz. — wade davis was a promising starting pitcher when he made his major league debut for joe maddon and the tampa bay rays almost eight years ago. then he was a reliever, and then a starter again and then a reliever.now he gets the ball from maddon once again — only this time as the closer for the chicago cubs.much has changed for davis over the years, and not much at the same time."the only way he's changed is he is a relief pitcher," a chuckling maddon said. "he was a starter when i first met him. he's the same cat. he's very deliberate in his methods and even conversationally."that's just fine with maddon, who is hoping for more of the same from davis after a dominant run with kansas city. while the dodgers, giants and yankees spent big money on closers over the winter, the wor






cubs closer wade davis displays endurance on the mound, at the plate in game 4


if this was wade davis’ final appearance as a cub as wrigley field, he gave everyone plenty to remember.davis, a free agent after this season, earned the final six outs by throwing 48 pitches and even provided an eventful at-bat wednesday night in helping the cubs hold on for a 3-2 victory and remain alive in the national league championship series.manager joe maddon already has ruled davis out for thursday night’s game 5, but davis said he would “get treatment, play catch and see how i feel.”considering that this was davis’ first appearance since throwing 43 pitches and earning seven outs thursday in the fifth and deciding game of the nl division series, the cubs will need resources other than davis to force a sixth game and send the series back to los angeles on saturday so he could be a






winter confidential: checking in from the mlb meetings


winter confidentiallake buena vista, fla. – early offseason projections had some free-agent relievers receiving $10 million-$11 million a season. relievers have become more valuable in recent seasons, but those projections seemed high. we needed some signings to put them to the test.on sunday, reports surfaced that brandon morrow was signing with the cubs for two years and at least $20 million to replace wade davis as closer. that should help set the market; next is to watch how salaries for good setup men fall in line.the twins don’t have a closer for 2018, although they have a couple of young relievers who could grow into the role. luke gregerson signed with st. louis for two years and $11 million. this is an example of what it’s going to cost the twins.some other tidbits gathered in the






wade davis gaining confidence amid season-high workload: 'that’s a good sign'


as wade davis receives more work, the cubs closer gets stronger.davis pitched a season-high 1 2/3 innings thursday night and worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning that enabled the cubs to pull out a 5-3 victory over the brewers in 10 innings.davis has pitched in five of the cubs’ past six games, starting with a sept. 15 outing against the st. louis cardinals in which he was used for more than one inning for the first time.in his past two outings, davis has struck out seven while not allowing a run. davis struck out domingo santana and induced orlando arcia to hit a feeble grounder back to the mound with the bases loaded to end the ninth inning thursday.davis wanted to throw a cut fastball to arcia but couldn’t do so until the count was full.“once i got to two strikes, i thou






as a tribute to his stepbrother, wade davis wore no. 17 — and now wears no. 71


the shoes, a faded shade of royal blue, sit in wade davis' locker. on the back of each is a number: 17.they mostly go unnoticed, save for a clubhouse attendant who occasionally stashes them in the wrong stall.the confusion is understandable because davis wears no. 71 for the cubs.kris bryant wears no. 17."all the clubbies keep putting them in my locker," bryant said.but the shoes, the number, they are special to davis, who on sunday was selected his third all-star game. special enough that he brought the cleats with him to chicago after he was traded from the royals last offseason.the unassuming cubs closer switched from 22 to 17 for the 2014 season after his stepbrother, dustin huguley, died unexpectedly of a genetic heart defect aug. 3, 2013."every time i step on the mound, i talk as if






as a tribute to his stepbrother, wade davis wore no. 17 — and now wears no. 71


the shoes, a faded shade of royal blue, sit in wade davis' locker. on the back of each is a number: 17.they mostly go unnoticed, save the for a clubhouse attendant who occasionally stashes them in the wrong stall.the confusion is understandable because davis wears no. 71 for the cubs.kris bryant wears no. 17."all the clubbies keep putting them in my locker," bryant said.but the shoes, the number, they are special to davis, who on sunday was selected his third all-star game. special enough that he brought the cleats with him to chicago after he was traded from the royals last offseason.the unassuming cubs closer switched from 22 to 17 for the 2014 season after his stepbrother, dustin huguley, died unexpectedly of a genetic heart defect aug. 3, 2013."every time i step on the mound, i talk as






chicago all-stars wade davis, avisail garcia as different as night and day


wade davis and avisail garcia were polar opposites monday during all-star media day, befitting their diverse personalities.davis, the cubs' veteran closer, looked as relaxed as a cat on a windowsill as he talked about playing on the north side and being selected to the national league roster. garcia, the white sox outfielder, was as excited as a kid in a video arcade while discussing his first trip to the all-star game.if the fates allow, chicago's two all-stars could face each other in the late innings of tuesday's game, just as lee smith struck out ron kittle in the eighth inning of the 1983 game at old comiskey park.in events of a more certain nature, davis is going to cash in big after this season, and garcia's stock is definitely on the rise.davis becomes a free agent in october, and






chicago all-stars wade davis, avisail garcia as different as night and day


wade davis and avisail garcia were polar opposites monday during all-star media day, befitting their diverse personalities.davis, the cubs' veteran closer, looked as relaxed as a cat on a windowsill as he talked about playing on the north side and being selected to the national league roster. garcia, the white sox outfielder, was as excited as a kid in a video arcade while discussing his first trip to the all-star game.if the fates allow, chicago's two all-stars could face each other in the late innings of tuesday's game, just as lee smith struck out ron kittle in the eighth inning of the 1983 game at old comiskey park.in events of a more certain nature, davis is going to cash in big after this season, and garcia's stock is definitely on the rise.davis becomes a free agent in october, and






joe maddon wants cubs relievers ready for any situation


hector rondon stepped aside last july when the cubs brought in closer aroldis chapman, and the addition of veteran koji uehara is another sign that roles in the bullpen will be as fluid as they've ever been under manager joe maddon."we've got a lot of talent and are deep and will be ready for any situation that arises during the season," maddon said. "it's a good thing."understanding that rondon might have taken the acquisition of chapman personally, maddon called rondon shortly before the cubs traded for wade davis on dec. 7."(rondon) was magnanimous, he was fine," maddon said. "but i'm sure there might be a part of him that might have been injured by that a little bit. however, i anticipate he'll fit in within his new role well."before leaving tuesday for san diego to join team venezuela






ben zobrist remains out of cubs' lineup due to neck stiffness


with the 2017 opener one week away, the chicago cubs hope to field their regular starting lineup soon as a tuneup.that would include second baseman ben zobrist, who hasn't played since march 19 because of neck stiffness.zobrist remained in mesa to get treatment, as the rest of the cubs' split-squad unit went to las vegas this weekend to play the cincinnati reds.minor leaguer carlos sepulveda will start at second base in place of zobrist when the cubs face the san diego padres at sloan park.cubs manager joe maddon on ben zobrist and wade daviscubs manager joe maddon on ben zobrist's neck and wade davis' struggles.cubs manager joe maddon on ben zobrist's neck and wade davis' struggles.see more videoshere's the cubs' lineup against the padres:jay cfszczur lfheyward rfcandelario 1bkawasaki ssb






cubs reliever carl edwards jr. hopes to move closer to being closer


carl edwards stood behind a pole, minding his own business one morning earlier this week at the cubs' spring training complex, when the jokes went airborne."i didn't see you there," an assistant coach said.edwards let loose a hearty chuckle and nodded his head."the string bean slinger," all 6-foot-3, 170 pounds of him, can take a joke. he has heard most of them.he also knows when to be serious. when he is, the joke usually is on opposing hitters.on saturday against the dodgers, edwards struck out the first three batters he faced this spring. he's coming off a rookie year in which he appeared in 36 regular-season games, sported a 3.75 era and struck out 52 in 36 innings. he boasted a 2.84 era in eight postseason appearances, including three world series games.the guy who was drafted in the






maeda, morrow keep cubs quiet in seventh


addison flied to left on the first pitch. with lefty kyle schwarber coming up, dave roberts pulls kenta maeda for brandon morrrow. i'd stick with maeda, then again, i've never been named manager of the year. and morrow does have better numbers against left-handed hitters.schwarber flied to center. javier baez struck out. like i said, bringing in morrow was the right idea.






depth on cubs' minds as they brace for closer games, injuries


as the toughest cuts of spring training loom, manager joe maddon and his staff have played the "what if" game in regards to potential injuries and lack of production.the cubs were able to withstand kyle schwarber's season-ending knee injury in the third game of the 2016 season. one major contributor was willson conteras, who made an impression with a strong spring that led to his call-up in june.the cubs cruised to a 25-6 start last year, allowing them to pace closer hector rondon and give extended rest to other players. they know they may not have that luxury this year as they evaluate their options outside their projected 25-man roster."we boat-raced a lot of games," maddon said of last season, when the cubs outscored their opponents by a major league-leading 252 runs. "we won a lot of g






cubs' wade davis gives up homer in 10th inning and american league wins all-star


the all-star game returned to its 20th-century roots tuesday night, pitting the two leagues against each other with absolutely nothing on the line.and when nothing really mattered, nothing much happened until the end when robinson cano homered off cubs closer wade davis in the top of the 10th inning to give the american league a 2-1 victory.power pitching mostly trumped power hitting until cano's blow, with 23 strikeouts, including 14 american leaguers, and only three extra-base hits. most of the pitchers threw in the mid-to-upper 90s, simply overpowering the hitters."it's pretty incredible isn't it?" said national league manager joe maddon of the cubs. "not only that, but with command too, for the most part."look at the gun readings, they're very high, plus a little bit of an adrenaline r






depth on cubs' minds as they brace for closer games, injuries


as the toughest cuts of spring training loom, manager joe maddon and his staff have played the "what if" game regarding potential injuries and lack of production.the cubs were able to withstand kyle schwarber's season-long knee injury in the third game of the 2016 season. one major contributor was willson contreras, who made an impression with a strong spring that led to his call-up in june.the cubs cruised to a 25-6 start last season, allowing them to pace closer hector rondon and give extended rest to other players. they know they may not have that luxury this year as they evaluate their options outside their projected 25-man roster."we boat-raced a lot of games," maddon said of last season, when the cubs outscored their opponents by a major league-leading 252 runs. "we won a lot of game






wade davis' history comforts cubs manager joe maddon


it was only three springs ago that the chicago cubs witnessed jose veras eroding from their closer to being released only two months into the 2014 season.that scenario doesn't exist this spring with wade davis and his 19.64 era, based largely on manager joe maddon's history with davis dating  to their days with the tampa bay rays."honestly, i’ve know him long enough to where it’s not (a concern)," maddon said sunday, one day after davis allowed four runs in only one-third of an inning. "you’re not going to believe this, but he’s throwing better than he normally does in spring training. the biggest problem he’s having now is command."maddon believes davis' velocity, in the mid-90 mph range, is nearly 10 mph faster than his springs with the rays. "he’s just not throwing the ball where he wan