The Rundown: Cubs Seeking Non-Bench OF, Mike Kickham Traded for MiLB Pitcher Lars Huijer, A’s Make Another Trade

We heard the other day that the Cubs were looking for an outfielder who can play center field.

Well, Ken Rosenthal adds to that, tweeting that they are looking for a regular — not a bench player. He also clarifies that the desired player would be able to play either left or center field.

Again, this makes sense to me. The Cubs already have a bunch of bench-type outfielders (Junior Lake, Matt Szczur, Ryan Sweeney), with a platoon of Chris Coghlan and Chris Denorfia (who also could probably be considered bench types).

Two of their “regular” outfielders, Arismendy Alcantara and Jorge Soler, are very young and inexperienced. While I probably have a good idea (or at least I hope so, anyway) of what Soler can provide, I’m less certain about what Alcantara will do.

Probably a good idea to have a backup plan in case Alcantara struggles mightily in center.

This may be looking ahead too far, but Kris Bryant may also be thrown into the outfield discussion at some point this year. But let’s worry about that when the time comes.

Cubs trade Kickham to Mariners

The Cubs have traded LHP Mike Kickham to the Mariners for minor-league RHP Lars Huijer.

Kickham was designated for assignment by the Cubs last week after the Chris Denorfia deal became official. The lefty wasn’t with the Cubs long, as he was claimed from the Giants in December.

Huijer pitched in Single-A and High-A last season in the Mariners’ system but didn’t have great numbers (5.08 ERA in 124 innings). He’s only 20 years old though, and the Cubs can view him as a project.

It’s nice to see the Cubs get something out of a simple offseason waiver claim that cost them nothing.

Other notes

* Another day, another A’s shortstop being traded. Yunel Escobar, who was recently acquired from the Rays along with Ben Zobrist, has been traded to the Nationals. In return, the Nationals send reliever Tyler Clippard to Oakland. Mike Axisa writes that Escobar will play second base, not short, for Washington (unless Ian Desmond is traded). Seems like a decent trade for both teams. I like Clippard out of the bullpen, but I can’t wait to see how the A’s ultimately shake out next year.

* Not able to attend the Cubs Convention this weekend? WBBM Radio (the Cubs’ 2015 radio partner) will be providing a live webcast of some of the events on Saturday. Here is the schedule.

* The Braves traded outfielder/catcher Evan Gattis to the Astros for RHP Mike Foltynewicz, third baseman Rio Ruiz and RHP Andrew Thurman. Atlanta has made some odd trades this offseason, but it seems like they received some decent young pieces in this one. Foltynewicz hits 100 mph with regularity but it’s up in the air whether he can stick as a starter because of his control. Thurman was a second-rounder in 2013, and Moran was a top-10 prospect for the Astros. Houston also gets minor-league RHP James Hoyt.

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