MLB Free Agency Market Watch: The Top 25 eligible players when the market … – New York Daily News

Max Scherzer tops the Daily News' list of top eligible free agents with the Cubs as likely landing spot.
Leon Halip/Getty Images Max Scherzer tops the Daily News’ list of top eligible free agents with the Cubs as likely landing spot.

Ever since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer arrived in Chicago in 2011, the Boston-bred pair has loaded up on position players, ultimately stockpiling one of the league’s most loaded organizations. Now they have Joe Maddon as manager, albeit after a controversial hiring.

The long-suffering team has arrived at a moment of heightened expectations, and the industry is watching the Cubbies more closely this winter than any other in recent years. There is chatter all over — and it remains rumor, as Epstein and Hoyer have not explicitly commented, and Epstein did not respond to a request to be interviewed for this piece — that the Cubs will pursue two of this winter’s three top starting pitchers, Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and James Shields.

Scouts and rival executives are speculating that Lester could reunite with Epstein, and the team could supplement him with one of the others. Shields has long been seen as a Boston target, but maybe a reunion with his old Tampa Bay manager could impact his choice…

Yeah, that’s a lot of guesswork. We’re not trying to present this as a scoop; it’s too early for one on this subject. What we’re telling you is the Cubs have money, need pitching, and are stirring interest and speculation in a new way. This will continue to be a story all next month, through the winter meetings in December, and perhaps beyond.

The genesis of these expectations actually stem from a Yankee. The Cubs were in serious pursuit of Masahiro Tanaka last winter, before he chose New York — and people with direct knowledge of their plans say that they are prepared to dump at …read more

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