ESPN’s Bruce Levine had another chat yesterday, offering his thoughts on a range of Chicago Cubs’ topics, many of which add a little wood to the hot stove…
- Levine suggests the Cubs could get two or three quality prospects in return for Carlos Marmol, and mentions the Red Sox and Angels as possible suitors.
- Levine says a couple teams have reached out to the Cubs on Geovany Soto’s availability, including the Pirates (who tried to acquire Soto at the trade deadline) and Angels (whose interest in both Soto and Marmol was first reported here last week). The new front office doesn’t have a particular allegiance to any players, and that’s a part of the reason valuable players like Soto are available.
- If Matt Garza is traded, Levine sees Jeff Samardzija moving to the rotation. I suspect the Cubs are going to give Jeff another chance to crack the rotation in 2012, regardless of what happens with Garza.
- Additionally, Levine says there’s no way the Cubs move Garza without getting young pitching in return. Which, like, duh. He says the Rangers “definitely” have interest, and says that it would be nice to get 28-year-old pitcher Alexi Ogando as part of the return. Ogando, a converted reliever, isn’t even eligible for arbitration for another two years.
- Levine doesn’t see the Cubs going after any high-priced position player free agents, except for Prince Fielder. On the pitching side, however, he could see the Cubs pursuing some expensive vets. The resources to add both a guy like Fielder and other pricey free agents are there, but it wasn’t the original plan to use the resources that way. Levine concedes that the CBA really changed things.
- Relatedly, Levine doesn’t see Albert Pujols leaving St. Louis. I’m not sure I know anyone who does, Cubs rumors notwithstanding.
- The Cubs are keeping their evaluation of 26-year-old Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes, whom all of Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod have observed first-hand, to themselves. Making that information public – whether they liked what they saw, or didn’t like what they saw – can only hurt the Cubs.
- Levine doesn’t think the Cubs could put together a package to land Mets’ third baseman David Wright, which is, to me, nuts. Wright is owed $15 million in 2012 (with a $16 million option for 2013, and a $1 million buyout), has dealt with repeated back issues, will soon be 29, and has suffered from a decline in defensive ability. None of that is to say he’s not a quality third baseman, one worth having on your team (he is). But the suggestion that he’s this over-the-top superstar whom the Cubs couldn’t possibly land with a package of prospects is, in my opinion, inaccurate. That all said, should the Cubs pursue Wright, even if they could land him? Nah.
- As noted in last night’s rumor blowout, Levine mentions Chase Headley as a candiate for the Cubs at third base. Until/unless another option comes up, I’m firmly planting my flag on the Headley-is-my-top-3B-choice side of things.
- Also noted in the rumor blowout, but not from Levine, David DeJesus is clearly on the Cubs’ radar, and could be the Cubs’ first move in free agency. Levine calls him the kind of player Theo and Jed usually look for, and could be a good rebound candidate in 2012. I’m inclined to agree, if the price is right. As I said last night, although his numbers weren’t where they usually are last year, DeJesus’s BABIP was unusually low, which tends to be an indication that a guy simply had an unlucky year.