Yesterday afternoon and on through the evening proved to be fertile grounds for the rumor mill…

  • The Detroit Tigers announced that DH/C Victor Martinez would be missing the 2012 season after tearing his ACL, which spent the Cubs’ rumor world into a tizzy: Alfonso Soriano? Marlon Byrd? Increased desire for Matt Garza? It was frenetic, and, at times, thoughtless – but that doesn’t mean it was inaccurate. I have no doubt that these scenarios have been and will be explored … together with many, many other options for the Tigers. GM Dave Dombrowski said the team would like to find a “short-term” solution, which doesn’t quite sound like three years of Soriano. It all depends, of course, on how much money the Cubs are willing to eat on Soriano’s deal, and how strongly the Tigers believe Soriano could succeed as a full-time DH (for me, I think his numbers climb if he’s just DH’ing).
  • Phil Rogers suggests that the best solution for the Tigers would be moving Delmon Young to DH while picking up a strong defensive left fielder, like Marlon Byrd (who would, presumably, be strong in LF). Thus, he thinks the Tigers would be wise to talk to the Cubs about a Byrd and Garza package. He also mentions the same package going to Boston, as Carl Crawford might be out a few months after wrist surgery.
  • On Garza, generally, I’m told that teams (the same names you’ve come to know and love) have started re-approaching the Cubs. The sense I get is that talks with a number of teams were hot and then cold, hot and then cold, based primarily on the Cubs’ high demands. Whether the current re-approaches mean teams are more willing to meet the Cubs’ high demands, or simply mean teams are are still looking to pick up a starter and now wonder if the Cubs have dropped their price, I don’t know.
  • Something to keep in mind on Garza trade talks: if the Cubs would like to net a prospect who was picked in the 2011 draft, they can’t make the trade for a little while yet. Why? Signed draft picks can’t be traded until one year after they sign. They can be players to be named later before that, but a PTBNL has to be “named” within six months of the trade. So, do a little subtraction, and knowing that most of the top prospects in the draft didn’t sign until mid-August, that would mean mid-February is the earliest that such a trade could happen (with the Cubs not officially getting the kid until he is “named” in August).
  • On the Yoenis Cespedes front, the good signs keep popping up. BP’s Kevin Goldstein, after noting that he’d recently been talking to a number of international folks, said he was reordering his likely Cespedes destinations thusly: 1. Cubs, 2. Marlins (and then a big gap), 3. Phillies, 4. Tigers. I’m not crazy about seeing the Cubs getting into a bidding war with the current iteration of the Marlins’ front office, but it’s nice to see them consistently listed as a leader.
  • Cubs’ Scouting Chief Jason McLeod, who’s watched Cespedes a couple times, compared him to a younger, faster Marlon Byrd, and confirmed that he would ideally see about 100 at bats in the minors before you’d think about calling him up.
  • Bruce Levine chatted recently and noted, among other things: (1) The Cubs may try to pick up an outfielder in trade if they move Soriano or Byrd, rather than call Brett Jackson up right away ; (2) once Cespedes and Jorge Soler get residency in the DR, it could still be upwards of two weeks before they are declared free agents; (3) Levine isn’t sure Epstein and Hoyer are sold on Darwin Barney as the starter at second base; (4) Bruce isn’t sure Randy Wells will be the odd man out of the rotation, especially if the Cubs trade Garza (well, yeah); and (5) the Cubs don’t want to do a bad contract swap with Soriano; (6) Bruce still doesn’t completely rule the Cubs out on Prince Fielder.
  • I missed this a little while ago, but Nick Cafardo wondered whether the Yankees’ acquisition of Michael Pineda could be a precursor to flipping him to the Cubs for Matt Garza. Shrug. That seems far-fetched. If Garza is going to the AL East, I’d reckon it’s to the Red Sox or Blue Jays.
  • Tim Kurkjian doesn’t see the Cubs trading Garza, but his reasoning doesn’t paint himself as the most thoughtful guy (which was kind of surprising): “I frankly don’t think Garza is going anywhere. If the Cubs want to get any good here, they’re going to have to do it with their pitching, and to trade one of their best pitchers, at this point, wouldn’t make any sense.”  … unless that pitcher is 28, extremely valuable on the trade market, and under control for two years, during which the Cubs might not be particularly competitive. Come on, Tim. I’m not saying the Cubs have to trade Garza, but “wouldn’t make any sense”?
  • Today at 4pm CT is the deadline for the Rangers to sign Yu Darvish, and there remains general optimism that he’ll sign. If you need me to remind you: you’re hoping he doesn’t sign, which could encourage the Rangers to re-engage the Cubs in Matt Garza trade discussions.
  • Sean Marshall says he hopes he has a chance to return to the Cubs when he’s a free agent after this season.


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