Indeed, both Buster Olney and Joel Sherman have noted that the landscape this year is one of hoarding at the top. Teams in contention are being especially stingy with their prospects, and, so far, the sellers have refused to budge in their demands.
So, too, it is with the Chicago Cubs. I’m told the Cubs are working the phones as aggressively as ever, but, for now, their asking prices remain high.
Things will happen, but it takes time. Remember, the Ted Lilly/Ryan Theriot deal didn’t happen until a few hours before the trade deadline last year.
For what it’s worth, at least one other source is suggesting that the Cubs are holding out until the weekend to really swing into action. Prospect Insider – a blog about, you guessed it, baseball prospects – says it has heard from an NL official that the Cubs, among other teams, are “sitting in the weeds, waiting to pounce over the weekend.”
The strategy, of course, is as likely to prove cunning as it is foolish. On the one hand, it’s possible that teams will become increasingly desperate as the deadline approaches and they see other teams improving around them. By then, they may be willing to meet the Cubs’ steep asking prices. But, at the same time, it’s possible that a number of teams will decide not to buy as their situation dims. They may even become sellers themselves, flooding the market with additional, tradable players, reducing the Cubs’ possible return – or even reducing the likelihood that they can make a trade at all. Waiting also risks that another team will beat you to the punch in sending a bat or arm along. Carlos Pena is a nice player, but he’s hardly so uniquely valuable that teams will wait to acquire just him.
If, indeed, the Cubs do most of their work this weekend, you will make out like a bandit on informative updates – this weekend is when I’m blogging for 24 hours straight leading up to the trade deadline this Sunday, July 31. Lucky you; though you’ll have to forgive me if, by hour 23, I report that the Cubs have traded Carlos Dempster for a player to be named earlier and “cash money money money.”