If you thought the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox were done signing players this offseason just because they respectively landed Jon Lester and Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, think again.

Boston and Chicago are pursuing backup catchers, but they are not the only ones involved in rumors from around the league.

Read on for some of the latest buzz from around baseball as the season approaches.


David Ross

Rob Bradford of WEEI 93.7 passed along an update on David Ross:

“The Red Sox and Cubs evidently aren’t done battling for players this offseason. … According to a major league source, free-agent catcher David Ross was choosing between the Red Sox, Cubs and Padres as of early Wednesday night.”

San Diego probably won’t be Ross’ final destination considering the Padres just landed Ryan Hanigan in a three-team trade and Derek Norris in a separate swap. While that doesn’t rule the Padres out completely, they will likely turn elsewhere after acquiring a catcher.

That means the race for Ross may come down to the Cubs and Red Sox, just like the battle for Lester. Ironically, Lester may be the reason he chooses Chicago. The Cubs already have to be considered one of the winners of the offseason with the additions of Lester and new coach Joe Maddon, among others, and adding a catcher familiar with Lester who will likely put up better numbers would make it even better.

Chicago or Boston will certainly not bring Ross in for his bat. He hit .184 last season with a whopping 15 RBI, but to be fair, he only played 50 games because of injury. Any offense from the catching spot is often just a bonus, though. 

Catcher is the most important player on the field outside of the pitcher, considering he is involved in every single pitch. How he manages a game and works with the pitching staff is ultimately more important when it comes to Ross and just about any catcher.


Kyle Kendrick 

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com provided an update on Kyle Kendrick:

The ground-ball rate is certainly a plus for the Colorado Rockies, considering they play at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Regardless of the mile-high air, no ground balls are soaring over the fence for a home run.

It is important for a back-of-the-rotation guy to be an innings-eater, and Kendrick did just that last season by throwing 199 innings last season for the Philadelphia Phillies. He finished with a 10-13 record, 4.61 ERA and 1.36 WHIP.

He is still only 30 years old, so he should have a couple of productive seasons still in the tank. Kendrick is not that far removed from a 2011 campaign in which he finished with a 3.22 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.

The Rockies should be able to get him for a favorable price and will hope that he can tap into the potential fans saw a couple of years ago.


Allen Craig 

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports noted that Allen Craig could be on the move:

Boston landed Craig in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals but hit a miserable .128 with the Red Sox in 107 at bats. His foot injury was likely a partial explanation for the struggles, but he still only hit .215 on the season.

It certainly wasn’t the Craig fans saw from 2011-13, when he hit .312 and drove in more than 90 runs in two separate seasons.

Craig’s comments when he was traded to the Red Sox are now even more poignant, via Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe: “I was surprised by the trade. But as players, we understand that nothing is ever permanent unless you have a no-trade clause. The fact I was coming to a great organization helped me get past it.” 

The problem for any team that trades for Craig is his back-loaded contract. He is owed $26.5 million over the next three years, which is a huge risk-reward situation. If he returns to the powerful middle-of-the-lineup form that fans saw in St. Louis now that he’s healthy, he would be worth the contract. 

However, if last season was the start of a rapid decline as he ages (he’s 30 now), that is a lot of money to pay for a potential sub-.200 hitter.


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