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It seems strange how tightly guarded the identities of the prospects potentially included in the Cubs/Reds Marshall/Wood deal are, no?

Usually, if deals are consummated pending physicals, the players’ names still make the news. Whether that’s by way of a leak or an official announcement, it’s common. In fact, it’s hard to remember a time in recent memory where a trade was believed to be completed pending physicals, openly discussed as a done deal in the media, two of the players are named, but one or two of the pieces are totally obscured from even the slightest of credible rumors. (This is, of course, different from when the players are explicitly unknown, in the form of Players to Be Named Later.)

So what could be different this time? Sure, maybe it’s just that Theo and Jed are more tight-lipped than any other front office. But is Walt Jocketty?

I’ll concede: it’s probably just that.

But, I can’t help myself. I’m curious by nature.

So, I started circulating a theory on Twitter this afternoon (and it’s just a theory – I haven’t “heard” anything): what if the reason the prospects’ names haven’t come out yet is because they haven’t been agreed on yet? To wit: what if the Reds have been given a window to work out an extension with Marshall (who is under contract for this year only, and would be more valuable to the Reds if they knew they had him locked up for longer), and the value of the prospects the Cubs will get in return is dependent on that extension?

Well, no sooner than I started floating the idea, I found an article from a couple hours ago in which a Cincinnati writer speculates that an extension is being discussed. His theory is that Marshall, unlike Mat Latos, is being flown into Cincinnati for a physical today. That suggests something is different in this deal than the Latos deal (I could argue it could be a specific health concern, but, hey, I’m just sayin’), and the writer, John Fay, believes it could be that an extension is in place, and the Reds just want to make sure Marshall is in perfect health before signing off.

Thoughts? Am I wrong that this level of secrecy is unusual? Is it plausible that the Cubs could get a better return if Marshall agrees to an extension?

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