Lukewarm Stove: Byrd, Lidge, Garza, Jackson, Wood, Marmol, Callaspo Marshall

Hey, what do you know? There are other bits of news and rumors out there impacting the Cubs unrelated to Matt Garza. A lot, it turns out (and, ok, there’s a little bit of Garza tucked in there, too) …

  • Marlon Byrd’s name is popping up more and more on the rumor wire. The latest edition comes from ESPN’s Buster Olney, suggesting that Byrd might be a fit in Washington (I’m guessing because the Nats have been looking for a center fielder for over a year), or in Boston (I’m guessing because Byrd could be a right-handed platoon-mate with recently-acquired Ryan Sweeney, as well as a fourth outfielder).
  • Speaking of Byrd and the Nats, Washington GM Mike Rizzo recently said, very unconvincingly, that the team is content to go with Jayson Werth in center field as a stopgap until 2013: “We see the 2013 free agent class at center field is much stronger than it is for the 2012 season. With that in mind we know Jayson [Werth] can handle the center field position. It’s not a perfect world for us. He’s a good defender out there and is ready, willing, and able to take on the responsibility to play center field. We recognize that we need a true gliding, defensive, rangy center fielder out there in a perfect world. As far as the 2012 season we’re not going to make a kneejerk reaction and lock ourselves into anything long-term if it doesn’t make sense for us.” Sounds like Washington could use a reasonably priced center fielder who is under contract only for 2012. Hmm. Where might they find one?
  • Dave Kaplan now says there’s a legitimate concern that Kerry Wood might not re-sign with the Cubs, whom Wood previously said he’d pitch for in 2012, or wouldn’t pitch at all. The hold-up, apparently, is the meaning of a “fair, market contract” for Wood. I warned weeks ago that the two sides could be in a bit of a pinch given Wood’s special standing with the organization and with fans, but his stated position that he’d pitch for the Cubs or not at all. That just doesn’t make for an easy negotiation when Wood wants a raise. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve a raise from the chump-change $1.5 million he received in 2011. He does. I’m just saying that the confluence of factors makes things sticky, and I’ve always been worried that it could come to a head. Hopefully an amicable resolution is still on the way.
  • The Cubs have had “at least low-level contact with Brad Lidge,” because they’ve not yet completely cornered the market on bounce-back reliever candidates. My tongue is mostly in cheek there, as I think low risk, high upside moves on relievers is a fine approach. But, given the already bloated bullpen, it does make you wonder how serious the Cubs are about ensuring that Kerry Wood has a roster spot. Again, I’m making no conclusions here. I just wonder. Lidge, 35, was quite good in very limited duty for the Phillies the last two years, but missed significant time last year with rotator cuff issues.
  • MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes held a chat yesterday, and touched on the Cubs in a variety of ways: (1) Dierkes expects that, if the Cubs move Garza, they’ll get less than the Royals got for Zack Greinke, and thinks the Yankees could offer the best package, (2) from the Jays, Dierkes sees Henderson Alvarez as a good starting point in talks about Garza (dig it), (3) Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler represent “rare opportunities,” and they’ll be paid accordingly, (4) the Cubs are probably still considering Paul Maholm, who likely wants a deal in the two-year, $12 to 14 million range (pass, unless it’s on the low end), (5) if the Cubs are in full-on blow-up mode (and Dierkes thinks they are), he thinks they’ll shop Ryan Dempster, assuming he’d waive his no-trade rights, and (6) Dierkes doesn’t think Dodgers make sense as a landing spot for Prince Fielder.
  • Edwin Jackson: still available. Why there has been almost no discussion yet of one of the better arms on the free agent market is as much a mystery as why Jackson is set to join his sixth team in five years. Maybe it’s the inconsistency, or an unpublicized attitude problem. Whatever the reason, he’s still out there and rarely attached to prominent rumors. Jackson’s agent, Scott Boras, suggests the reason for a slow-play in the Jackson market is because of all of the front office turnover (umm… sure, Scott): “Edwin is very much unknown in this (free-agent) process,” Boras said. “Look at the trade market, the availability of older shorter-term, veteran pitchers, the newness of so many general managers . . . it definitely had an impact. The new GMs, as they slip into it, their familiarity with the market is all new. The information they receive is all new.” Perhaps the teams into which the new GMs have slipped are new to those GMs, but it’s not as if they are transitioning from a career as a college professor into the front office. They know who Edwin Jackson is, what their needs are, and what his numbers/scouting reports say.
  • The Rangers remain in the market for a closer, but it remains a mystery whether they’d consider taking on Carlos Marmol. They were interested at the trade deadline last year, but the closer market has since become saturated and Marmol’s performance declined further. I go back and forth on Marmol’s value. He’s owed almost $17 million over the next two seasons, which is not expensive by this offseason’s Papelbon/Nathan deal standards. But he’s also seen a marked dip in fastball velocity, and in slider movement. Unless the Cubs ate part of Marmol’s deal, I’m just not convinced a team would be willing to commit more than a mediocre prospect to obtaining him. The Cubs might be best served crossing their fingers and hoping for an early-season rebound.
  • Maybe this is a stupid question, but: if the Angels are truly going to put Mark Trumbo at third base to open up first base for Albert Pujols and DH for Kendrys Morales, what happens to Alberto Callaspo? He can play all over the infield, sure, but he’s been a starter for the last three years (one of which saw him start at second base). He’ll turn 29 next year, and offers good on-base ability and a quality glove. He’s in his second year of arbitration and could make $3 to $4 million. Seems like an expensive, good player to relegate to the bench after three years of starting. Just curious. Maybe I’m missing something obvious.
  • Dave Kaplan shared this interesting tidbit yesterday about the Sean Marshall trade: “I just spoke with a great source who told me that Cubs offered Marshall an extension but no guarantee he wouldn’t be moved in July.” It makes you wonder if the Cubs felt like the return on Marshall could have been even better midseason with a couple more years on his contract. The obvious answer would have been yes. Nice try, gents.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

166 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Byrd, Lidge, Garza, Jackson, Wood, Marmol, Callaspo Marshall”

  1. loyal100more

    theos medicine tastes like s–t! but most effective medicine is quite nasty

  2. Ryan

    I hope Bill Center of San Diego paper is wrong in thinking that the Pads will trade Rizzo to the Rays who then flip to Cubs. Im not sure of dealing with the Rays

  3. 2much2say

    What do the Cubs have that the Rays would flip Rizzo for?

  4. 2much2say

    Rays? Soto? Fit?

  5. loyal100more

    the rays dont make sacrafices of any kind… smart orginization

  6. loyal100more

    you might be able to get a player your high on but the rays will make you pay extra for it… rizzo for soto straight up? it will never happen

  7. Toosh

    Fielder has to sign before Pena.

    1. loyal100more

      why not approch pena before he is the best free agent option at first

      1. Toosh

        Per HandyMan28, Pujols had to sign before Fielder and Fielder has to sign before Pena. It’s all logical in his world.

  8. loyal100more

    soto and marmol… getting warmer

  9. Mike F

    What we gave for Garza is completely meaningless. It has no relevance whatsoever other than for fans trying to justify a position one way or another.

    Garza has proven to be one of the better pitcher’s available, a front end pitcher in a front end deprived market. No GM worth a damn would let a sophomoric media type analysis you paid X you should get X standard invade his thinking. Garza is a sure piece, a front end starter on a team that doesn’t have it in their organization. If Theo trades him, he should want more than most fans and more than this type of standard, just as the Detroit names show.

    And for the record the Tampa situation is completely different. Garza has another proven year. Friedman had his back to the wall in a small market with fan attendance problems and owner who is like Oakland constantly liquidating and churning Friedman had to hold an auction. The Cub’s don’t have the bevy of alternatives to replace him and his value to the Cubs and now most major league teams is greater than it was a year ago to Friedman and the Rays. The Cubs don’t have to sign him, they could extend him quite easily, so if someone wants him they should and will pay. If not he’s quite valuable to the Chicago Cubs.

  10. loyal100more

    garza is more valuable now than he was when we traded for him… and the return value will reflect that as the situation pans itself out. however on a team with little hope to compete his trade value is at its peak now… and the numbers he may put up for the orginazation seem to be quite meaningless if hes not extended to a cost friendly deal to trade him later.

  11. 2much2say

    Until Fielder signs Pena will not have leverage. No one is going to move on Pena until they see what happens with Fielder.Especially if you have a 1B to trade

    1. Brian Myers

      You are correct about the leverage! I believe that if you are going after Pena (now) then you are likely not bidding on Fielder. If I was Pena, I wouldn’t be SIGNING until Fielder was off the board. Why? Because the teams bidding on Fielder that lose out will have a need at 1st and money to spend. It will likely drive up the offers he’s getting with multiple bidders in the mix.

  12. loyal100more

    thank you gentelman for the insight on the carlos pena topic… it makes much more sense to me now

  13. loyal100more

    yes! cant forget this isnt only about the teams making bids, but also the agents contoling the bidding and there clients finantial future (as well as there max pay day)

  14. loyal100more

    now as for our teams other assets any feedback on what we can expect in return? anything good? (soto, dempster,byrd, and marmol)

    1. Ryan

      may depend on what you think is good and could also depend on if the Cubs put any money into the deals

  15. loyal100more

    im sure we can make some progress but how much?

  16. Cubsin

    I really, really hope that the final offers for Garza are in, and that Jed and Theo will decide tonight which one to accept and will announce the trade tomorrow. Otherwise, we’ll have several more days of conflicting rumors but no deal until at least next Tuesday.

    1. loyal100more

      im on deck with that… so that fans like myself can start to micro manage with a group of youngsters

  17. Cubsin

    If Brett’s analysis that Dempster would only bring a B prospect even if the Cubs ate half his $14 salary is anywhere close to correct, there’s no point in even exploring options now. Somebody has to eat innings for the Cubs next year to avoid frying the entire bullpen. If he’s pitching well as the trade deadline approaches, he’ll cost less to trade and/or bring a better prospect.

  18. loyal100more

    wasnt dempster at one point in time a great option in the bullpen? just a thought

    1. sam


      1. loyal100more

        well if dempster is such a nice guy maybe hell jump in the bullpen and show these youngsters what eating innings in long relief is all about… who knows mabe he finds a new calling and the rest of the league finds trade value in a relief role

  19. die hard

    To count on Dempster doing anything beyond what he did last year is delusional….

  20. sam

    Kerry Wood + Cubs =ROLE MODEL …….. LIL theo + gorrilla costume =future

    1. loyal100more

      darwin barney= ryan theriot

  21. loyal100more

    i think though average in most respects dempster was solid and did eat up quite a few innings last year…was he worth 14 mill… not a chance. i think if he stays you can at least expect him to be solid not spectacular.

  22. loyal100more

    theo+garza= 3 if not 4 reasons to have hope for the future

  23. Mike F

    Dempster probably isn’t more then he was last season, but as the season wears on, pretenders get separated from contenders and injuries cccur. Every year is different and if someone is going to overpay, with a lot of his salary paid, I think there is an argument for hanging on to Dempster to see what you can get in June or July.

    The other factor that plays into this is that there are clear veteran alternatives out there cheaper. Oswalt is about the same profile and 2 or 3 weeks ago it was a 1 year 10 million on him, I thing it probably goes less now. Of course there are some cards to be thrown, but as the market for Fiefder has not developed, Jackson is sitting there and people like Oswalt, Jackson, Sauders and Mahlom all are sitting there overvaluing themselves, Brett may be kind in his evaluation of Dempster. He’s overvalued relative to the market, so I have to ask myself why would I pay Dempster’s bad money and a prospect when I can sign one of those mentioned? And the answer is I don’t think anyone will, until and unless either Dempster shows he’s the guy of 3 years ago, or someone is in deep need with no attractive alternatives.

    1. loyal100more

      and what a blessing it would be to have dempster pitching the way we all thought he would when he got his last deal

      1. Sweetjamesjones

        Wishful thinking if anything.

  24. loyal100more

    now i read an earlier post about the possibility of byrd being traded and the over all take is not a whole lot to be expected in return… is this truely the case?

  25. loyal100more

    it seems to me byrd is a solid if not above average centerfielder that can play any position in the out firld with decent tools as far as a throwing arm, a bit of speed, and a bit of pop in his bat. is that really worth so little on the trade market with a low cost contract to go with it?

    1. Ryan

      1 he’s an avg OF that can play all 3 spots and if im not mistaken his best hitting years have come under the Cubs hitting coach. I believe he has what 6 million on his contract? Id guess they could get at the most 2 B- prospects for him and I think that maybe pushing it

  26. Mike S

    MLBTradeRumors reports that the Oakland A’s asked for Noah Syndergaard in the Gio Gonzalez trade and the Blue Jays declined…Makes me uneasy about what we might get if we trade them Garza, since Gio was more valuable than Garza….

    1. Lou

      With the Blue Jays GM, yeah, I’d be uneasy.

    2. JasonB

      Then I say we hold out for Syndergaard.  We don’t have to trade Garza.

    3. realist

      It didn’t say they declined. It just said that Snydergaard was part of what they asked for. For all we know they could have rejected the Jays offer.

    4. Ryan

      Value is dependent on the looker. Some teams worried about Gio’s walks and pitching in the AL East if you put people on base you tend to get hurt more than any other divison. Maybe the Jays want Garza more than Gio or maybe he was one of the names the Cubs had told the Jays that they had to have in the deal if they wanted Garza

  27. Mike S

    The way it was written it sounds like the Blue Jays declined…