It may be an official holiday – and a great one – but the rumor mill doesn’t shut down on MLK day…

  • The Cubs continue to dance with a handful of teams about Matt Garza, with the issues being all that you already know: the Cubs feel like they don’t *have* to trade Matt Garza right now (though they’d likely prefer it, rather than risk what could happen between now and the trade deadline (injury to Garza, ineffectiveness of Garza, other starters coming on the market, teams deciding their internal options are adequate after seeing them in action, etc.), and are willing to deal Garza only for a very strong return. From the Tigers, that means both Jacob Turner and Nick Castellanos, something Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski has made relatively clear isn’t going to happen.
  • On the subject of Garza trade rumors, I had a nice DM discussion with WBBM’s George Ofman on Twitter yesterday about the market for Garza, and the Cubs’ urgency to deal the righty. Ofman believes there’s no way the Cubs can get both Turner and Castellanos for Garza (I tend to agree, at least not unless the Cubs add a significant piece like a Matt Szczur (which, given the 40-man situation, they might well be willing to do)), and added that the Cubs might not even be able to get only one of the two in a deal. Given their druthers, Ofman thinks the Tigers would prefer to add a lefty to their rotation, but notes that the Tigers aren’t the only team the Cubs can continue to talk to about Garza. The Blue Jays linger at the periphery, and the Red Sox may have just gotten more desperate with the Yankees adding both Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda this weekend.
  • Ultimately, Ofman believes the Cubs’ desire to trade Garza is stronger than most folks presently think. While I’m usually the first to hide behind the “the Cubs don’t *have* to trade Garza” thing, I’m not sure Ofman is wrong on this one. As an aside – George Ofman: nice guy.
  • Speaking of the Red Sox and Matt Garza, Jon Morosi also thinks the Red Sox will feel added pressure to add a starting pitcher now, and mentions Garza as a possible target. He also notes that the could try and pick up Roy Oswalt on a cheap-ish, one-year deal. If I said that’s a risky move for the Red Sox, would I sound too much like I’m “selling”?
  • Also of relevance to Matt Garza discussions: Gio Gonzalez just signed a five-year, $42 million extension, with two option years that could increase the deal to $65 million (those must be very team-friendly options). Gonzalez, as a Super Two, had four years of arbitration remaining, so the deal buys out one free agent year. At projected salaries in the area of $5 million, $7.5 million, $10 million, and $12.5 million in arbitration, it looks like the Nats got a great deal. Of course, they take on the risk that Gonzalez blows out his arm (whereas, if they’d gone year to year, they could have non-tendered him), but it is certainly interesting from not only a Garza perspective, but also, for example, a Starlin Castro perspective.
  • As was the case with the Paul Maholm signing, the Cubs will have to open up a spot on the 40-man roster to officially add Kerry Wood. Unless there’s a trade in the works, I’ll reiterate that it seems likely one of the bullpen-type arms will get the boot – guys like Marcos Mateo, Alberto Cabrera, or John Gaub.
  • Optimism that Yu Darvish and the Rangers will reach an agreement by Wednesday’s deadline (thus excluding them from re-entering Matt Garza talks) continues to grow. Jim Bowden cites sources who tells him the deal will get done. Hamburgers.
  • Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler – who came in for frequent mention at CubsCon, but about whom all executives refused comment – could be getting residency (and, thereafter, free agency) any day now. Phil Rogers thinks the Cubs’ signing of Yaniel Balaguert, a former Cuban teammate of Soler’s, and Carlos Martinez, also out of Cuba, are designed to help welcome other Cubans to the organization. I suppose it’s a plausible added selling point, but I tend to think Cespedes and Soler will go to whomever pays them the most money. The Cubs, again, are expected to make offers to both players.
  • Jon Heyman says the Yankees are telling folks they have only $1 or $2 million left to allocate to the now-vacant DH spot. I’d reckon that, even if the Yankees were interested in Alfonso Soriano, the Cubs would want a little more salary relief than that. Indeed, FanGraphs recently concluded that, even as a bench/platoon player, Soriano is worth about $3 million per year. As a full-time DH, I remain of the mind that Soriano could put up at least league average offensive numbers. Soriano is owed $54 million over the next three years.
  • For his part, Soriano says he’d accept a trade, but would like to go to a contender.
  • At CubsCon, Dale Sveum was asked about Prince Fielder, and, after citing Anthony Rizzo and Bryan LaHair, Sveum said Fielder is “just not going to happen.”
  • http://bleachernation ferris

    one signing fielder to a 6-7 yr deal wouldnt be nearly the same as sori…fielder is a solid first baseman,sori was never a good fielder…….but were goin w/rizzo an i for one am cool with it(like it matters)ha ha………but bein stuck with sori’s bat isnt an issue his glove kills us…if we got to pay 45 mil. then we are buying prospects we just gotta make sure we get some real good ones back is all we can do..
    sanchez-c,warren-p,and ptbnl from the yanks…imo

    • DocWimsey

      Fielder is not a solid first baseman (unless you run into him), and Sori’s poor performances in left and at 2nd do not preclude him from playing first well.  Indeed, before DH’s, first was where you sent guys who couldn’t play anywhere else: and with a little work, they often became quite adequate.

      • hansman1982

        Agree, 1b is the NL version of the DH.

        If I am thinking correctly the defensive heirarchy goes something like: SS, CF, 3rd, 2nd, RF, LF, 1B with the only real difference between RF and LF is arm strength.  C left off the list because it is a different beast all together.

    • Pat

      Forget getting prospects. It won’t happen. The only thing a Soriano trade would bring is some (minor) salary relief.

    • Tommy

      I have to disagree with the assessment on 1B being a position that requires little skill defensively.  3B is the hot corner for right handed batters, and 1B is the hot corner for left handed batters.  Along with that, consider that the 1B will touch more balls throughout the game than anyone on the field (excluding the Pitcher and Catcher), I think it’s extremely important to have someone with a good glove there.  The Cubs paid Carlos Pena $10M for one year in large part because of his glove.  As bad as our season was last year, can you imagine what it would have been like had we had someone with no glove in his place?

      • Jonski

        Agreed good post Tommy

  • jim

    Tired? Change the team, not wrigley.

  • Savant

    We might be better off looking at taking back another bad contract for Soriano. Someone from the Zito, Bay, Wells, Burnett, Lackey, Crawford, Rios, Dunn lot. What is going to make it unpleasent for the team is that any money that changes hands in a transaction has to be dispersed within a year, which means if the Cubs could get someone to take Soriano and his $4 million a year, they would have to pay off the remaining $42 million within a year.

    • Doc Evans

      Oh God, anybody but Adam Dunn please. I was in the heavy minority that was relieved when the Cubs did not sign him. His best days are FAR behind him. I’d rather have Soriano than him on the Cubs. I’m not exactly a Soriano hater, but I cannot stand to see him in the outfield for one more season.

      On another note, I do not believe that the Cubs are going to deal Garza (unless Turner and Castellanos are in a deal from the Tigers). I think they are going to hold onto him and make a run at one of the big time free agent starting pitchers next season. Just my opinion, however.

      I further believe that, unless the Cubs are relatively in contention near the trading deadline, this is when more of the familiar Cub names get traded. This block includes Byrd, Soto, Dempster, and / or Marmol. But like I said, it’s just my opinion.

  • Brad Barber

    what about a Soriano for Burnett trade? I’m not sure if their salary equals out but I think that Burnett could be a solid back-end guy in the NL Central. Meanwhile Yanks, with a surplus of starters, get their DH

    • juice

      this actually makes sense at first glance. the yanks just gained two starters and have no money for a DH. They could dump a bad contract/chemistry guy and cubs could get another SP with something to prove.
      After thinking about it for a minute however, I do not believe the cubs would do this. If they are really trying to change culture and everything, we could dump soriano for a prospect and eat his money. Trading him for burnett would only handcuff us with burnett. We should just hope soriano gets off to a hot start and maybe trade him for something, otherwise ride him out this year and see if they can make a run with the weak central division and that extra wild card spot.

  • ty

    Fitch field parking lot is filling up with rental cars as more players are drifting in and two of the four fields are in daily use. Weather is holding at 65 sunshiny degrees day after day. sveum was here earlier and very approachable but knew him from Maryvale anyhow. Report dates do not mean much to most Cubs with exception of lazy ass Sorianio. Passive agressive is his middle name.

  • T Larson

    Please excuse my interruption. Has anyone heard about the Dempster for P.Hughes trade rumor?

    • Brett

      I hadn’t yet – could I ask where you heard it? I heard something non-specific recently about Phil Hughes, but there wasn’t any discussion of Dempster. Not sure I see the Yankees’ angle there.

    • Glenallen’s One Homer

      Wait, why are we trading Pat Hughes for Ryan Dempster??

  • T Larson

    I found it on Hotstove Cubbies.

    • LJ

      I wouldn’t put too much stock in what is said there. He is wrong 90% of the time.

  • T Larson

    That is the Yankees Phil Hughes for Ryan Dempster

  • J.B. House

    I heard Royals DH Billy Butler for Hughes. Witch would make a lot more sense.

  • die hard

    Soriano at 1B and LaHair in LF would work if Castro and Barney flipped flopped so throws from SS could be more dependable and Castro wouldnt have to try to overthrow each play…he could relax and be a better defender and Barney would lead all SS in fielding pct and his .OBP of .325 would be ok with a fielding pct of .985 ….and Castro would be the next Sandberg….Soriano would have better legs by All-Star and hit .320 with 28 HR and 115 RBI…LaHair would hit same as Soriano…and thats that


    If the extension of the playoffs goes thru for 2012, it will also impact the Garza trade time frame. With more teams potentially in it at the trade deadline, will it be worth it to wait and hope someone panics and overpays? Or since there is more margin for playoff slots, will teams be less likely to roll the dice and overpay? Dealing him now might bring a bigger yield. A sticky wicket for sure. As much as fans want to see the Cubs make more moves than Allied Van Lines, sometimes it isn’t as easy as it seems getting Soto out with a guy on third and less than 2 outs without the run scoring.

    • Lou

      Dealing Garza now is about as good as it gets. Most of the teams with whom the Cubs will discuss a trade now, will be the same cast of characters come July. And if the Cubs perchance can’t move him in July, then the organization has a John Danks situation on its hands. I, for one, am not for extending Garza.