The Lukewarm Stove is finally settling down for the year. There will probably be rumors throughout Spring Training, but I reckon those’ll be reported on a one-off basis, rather than in a Stove-like set. It’s kind of sad…
- In addition to the big update last evening on Jorge Soler and the Cubs’ non-signing, there is a rumor going around that Blue Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos is headed to the DR today to see and meet with Soler. I’m not saying it’s true, but, if it is, it’s hard to see him going to all that trouble if everyone understood Soler to have a preliminary agreement in place with the Cubs. Of course, there remains a whole lot of room between “signed to a contract” (which we know Soler isn’t) and “some kind of understanding with the Cubs” (which Soler may have). And in that room might be a chance for other teams to swoop in with a compelling offer.
- There have been more reports today about a other teams interested in Soler, including the Phillies, says Buster Olney. The Cubs, I suspect, can go toe-to-toe with all other bidders in terms of cash, but will some other team go nuts (especially if they feel like the Cubs already have the inside track)? The Cubs’ recent influx of teammates/friends of Soler’s will help if the money is close. I’m still at 51% Cubs.
- Bruce Levine chatted yesterday and touched on a variety of rumors. Notably, he revisited a Geovany-Soto-for-Wade-Davis swap, which didn’t make much sense the first time it came up. Now, Levine agrees – he doesn’t see anything like that happening, but doesn’t rule out Soto being a trade candidate in-season. If Soto is hitting well this year (and if Welington Castillo is performing well at AAA), I think you can pretty much guarantee Soto will be a frequent subject of trade rumors.
- Levine also noted that the Cubs have had discussions with Matt Garza about an extension (which we knew), but a sticking point between the sides is the Cubs’ refusal to offer a no-trade clause on a long-term deal (which I previously reported). The Cubs will continue to listen to offers for Garza should they come along and improve upon the unacceptable offers the Cubs received this Winter. A key injury or two in Spring Training is never something to root for, but it could certainly help the Cubs’ bargaining position.
- Roy Oswalt is somehow still a free agent. We’ve heard at various times that the Red Sox, Reds, Rangers and Cardinals are trying to move salary to open up enough cash to sign Oswalt, but apparently none has been able yet. I presume it will happen soon enough, with Spring Training around the corner, but what if it doesn’t? Does Oswalt pull a Roger Clemens and continue to sit on the sidelines until one of his preferred destinations gets desperate? Or does he get as much money as he can from wherever he can?