Cubs still aggressive in pursuit of youth
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter August 6, 2014 10:17PM
Updated: August 17, 2014 10:02PM
DENVER — The draft is long behind them, and the non-waiver trade deadline passed last week. But the Cubs still are trying to acquire more young players.
Sources confirmed Wednesday the Cubs were granted their waiver claim on hard-throwing right-hander Jacob Turner and were working with the Miami Marlins on a deal to complete the acquisition.
Also Wednesday, the Cubs held a private workout at Wrigley Field for Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, 27, a speedy leadoff candidate that major-league evaluators consider ‘‘very close’’ to big-league ready.
Turner, the No. 9 pick in the 2009 draft, makes $1 million this season as part of the contract he signed with the Detroit Tigers, who dealt him to the Marlins in the trade for right-hander Anibal Sanchez in 2012. Turner, 23, also has a $1 million contract option for 2015, when he otherwise would be eligible for arbitration.
The 6-5 Turner struggled in the Marlins’ rotation this season before being sent to the bullpen, where he didn’t fare much better. One scout suggested he reacted emotionally to the demotion and might have let it affect his pitching.
Castillo is said to want to decide on a team quickly. Almost every big-league team attended his open workout recently, and at least a half-dozen teams have set up private workouts with him. Some consider the Cubs among the favorites to land him.
President Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer in recent days said they hoped to be active during the August waiver period.
‘‘It’s hard to make moves in August,’’ Epstein said Tuesday, referring to waiver restrictions. ‘‘Anything’s possible. We’ve seen a couple of big deals in August in recent years, but it’s more the exception than the norm.
‘‘We don’t have anything in the hopper as of yet. I can’t promise you anything, but we are looking at August as a potential opportunity to acquire players who fit for the future.’’