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Without getting too deeply into the whole Geovany-Soto-is-done-just-start-Steve-Clevenger thing (my official position is it’s still way too early to think about benching Soto, and while I like what I’ve seen from Clevenger, it’s also way too early to anoint him a .500 hitter), it’s always been possible that Soto would be dealt at some point this season. He’s 29, on a modest contract (he makes $4.3 million this year before his final arbitration year in 2013), is on a team that probably isn’t going to win this year, and he’s backed up by a just-turned-26-year-old who might eventually be able to take his job. And that’s not even mentioning Welington Castillo, who also could be a big league regular.

Tampa Bay has been looking for a catcher for some time now, and local rumors have Soto as one of the trade possibilities for the Rays. Soto’s been off to a terrible start this year, though he’s started hitting the ball with authority lately (he hit one yesterday off of Aroldis Chapman that was as struck as well as any ball I’ve seen anyone hit all year – but a combination of the wind and a well-positioned left fielder turned it into a line-out/fly-out), and it’s been a whopping 46 plate appearances.

It’s easy for us to forget just how good he was in 2008 and 2010, and even last year in a “bad” year, Soto still managed a 97 OPS+. He was also worth 2.4 WAR in just 125 games. If he does that again this year, he’d offer millions in surplus value.

Together with AJ Pierzynski and Kurt Suzuki, Soto is probably one of the best three catchers expected to be available this Summer. But, with the White Sox surprisingly competitive, they may be unwilling to move Pierzynski, and the A’s have toyed around with the idea of signing Suzuki to an extension (he’s currently, like Soto, under team control through 2013). And, even with all of Soto’s struggles, he’s still the far superior offensive player – Suzuki hasn’t topped a 90 OPS+ since 2009 (and is at just 89 for his career), and though Pierzynski equalled Soto’s 97 last year, he was at just 84, 93, 88, 83 in the previous four years.

In other words: Geovany Soto has trade value – perhaps more than any other available catcher – and shouldn’t be dumped for nothing.

What would he net? No one can tell you for sure, but you’ve got to believe the Cubs would prefer to pick up a quality pitching prospect or two (something the Rays always have in spades).

  • Coldneck

    Yes

  • art

    Maybe they can ask for that kid SS, think his name is Lee. lol.

  • Brandon

    Is Robinson Chirinos still in the Rays organization?? Is he no longer in the Rays plans??

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Currently on the 60-day DL with a concussion. Must be pretty bad.

    • Cedlandrum

      He is. He is on the 60 day DL with concussion symptoms. He had a very mediocre year after looking like he was a legit prospect. Only hit .260 in AAA. So I think some of the shine has worn off. He is 28 this year.

      That Garza trade is looking better everyday with Archer struggling, Chirinos returning to earth, Sam Fuld remembering he was Sam Fuld and Lee struggling again with AA pitching.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        I’m sure that Guyer is leading the AL in every important stat…..

        • Cedlandrum

          Ah I knew I was forgetting someone. He was actually a guy I liked a lot. He is still killing AAA.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            But practically eligible for Social Security, too…. ;-)

  • Cheryl

    Look at pitching!

  • Fishin Phil

    Any chance we can sell the Rays on the idea of converting Soriano to a catcher? Just kidding, kind of.

    • Cubbie Blues

      He couldn’t frame the ball with his hop.

      • Kev

        ^ Winner

      • Mike

        Unless the pitch was low?!

      • Wilbur

        LIke it …

    • louis

      I bet he could chase one in the dirt!!!

  • Shawn

    the last rumor associated with Soto and the Rays included Wade Davis – I would hope Geo would command a little more in return than that…

  • hansman1982

    NO SOTO MUST BE RELEASED!!!!

    I used to think that it would take until the end of 2013 for us to not recognize the team…this may happen by August.

  • Crockett

    I think Davis and a B prospect is about what Soto is worth. Remember, he’s not an elite defensive catcher by any means.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I have a hard time gauging Davis’ value. He strikes me as a 4th/5th starter type, but some talk about him like he could be more than that. On a quick glance, I don’t really see why the Cubs would want yet another 4th/5th starter.

      • Matt Murton

        He’s also pitching in the AL East, and it seems like he hasn’t been able to put together a full season yet at the level he’s capable of. He was pretty highly touted coming up, and is still young enough for things to click. In a lot of ways, he’s the RHP version of Soto…

      • Crockett

        I think moving to the NL, especially the Central, Davis’ stuff would play much better. He’s not a strikeout guy, which punishes him a bit more in the AL than the NL.

    • Cubs Dude

      At this point i would be very excited to get Davis. Considering how the other trades lately have gone (other than the Rizzo deal). That would be a huge win.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I wonder if Tampa would give up Enny Romero for him.  A left handed starter with a plus fastball and two promising secondary pitches wouldn’t be a bad addition to the Cubs farm system.

  • josh

    Soto and cash for wade davis, tim Beckham and maybe a top 10-15 prospect if we can squeeze that out of them would work for me. Beckham is an ss looking for a new position which works fine for the cubs (he can play 2nd or of). He’s worn out his welcome with some in the rays organization.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Beckham in 2012 at AAA had 27 K% .282 OBP and .462 SLG and 3% BB. Those lines don’t look too appealing to me. Granted he’s what 22? But that doesn’t look to be what the new FO is looking for.

      • josh

        he’s a high upside guy, and has the type of impact talent the cubs are looking for. hes not perfect but the talent is there and he seems like hes been getting better every year the past two years. if the rays are gonna buy low on soto then i think it makes sense for us to buy low on beckham. he was the #1 pick in the draft for a reason. and hes expendable becuase of hak ju lee, who they wont give back to us.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          But as Cubbie Blues notes, Beckham is weak in the talent areas that attract Jed & Theo.  As for HJ Lee, well, he’s been awful for over 1/3rd a season in AA, and I mean really awful: 0.180/0.267/0.262 in 195 PAs!  His K rate has been 19%; that’s OK if you are going to hit 35+ HR, but he’s hit 1.  (His BB rate is a very good 10%, however.)

  • Spencer

    Soto for Matt Moore. Seems reasonable.

    • djriz

      And David Price as a throw-in!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      They should probably throw in Price and Longoria, just to make sure it’s fair.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        heh, only if it’s Vincent and Eva….

        • Wilbur

          Another nice one …

  • Njriv

    I’m kind of confused on Castillo, is he considered the catcher of the future or what?

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      He is at least the top choice of the moment.

  • Steve

    Why would we trade Soto??? Hes great at….well…he can really…um… but who would take his place?? Clevenger is only batting…oh yeah… well he’s terrible at ….??? dang!!!
    Ok…lets do this.
    Soto for Archer.

    • NC Brad

      I would love to have Archer back. Saw him pitch last year in Montgomery, and he looked really good. I have a buddy that plays in the Rays minor league system and says their development people absolutley love Archer, so who knows if the Rays would be willing to give him back. Any qualoty prospect from Tampa would likely become a hot prospect in the Cubs organization, so whoever we could get would be an upgrade for the Cubs

      • Brian

        Archer looks awful and is bullpen bound if anything. He’s still capable of striking out over a batter per inning, but he’s also walking over a batter per inning. His BEST BB/9 over the past 3 years is over 5.01.

  • http://bleachernation.com DL HUYCK

    Do the deal Please. Soto and DeWitt for a top 15 prospect and Wade Davis. Seems fair.

    • Deer

      How does DeWitt sweeten a deal?

      • bt

        I’ll give you .105 reasons.

  • Ivy Walls

    Another obvious deal just waiting to happen. Brett you fail to mention that Castillo has a 1.025 OPS in AAA now and was a coin flip from coming north instead of Clevenger. My guess is that Cubs are merely looking at seeing how Clevenger handled the pre-game prep duties catchers have to see if he is ready before sending Soto off. A Clevenger/Castillo platoon could be a big deal. this one Cubs might not have to eat too much salary and might also get a good A+ or AA prospect out of the deal. What would be grand is get back Lee…maybe include Lake and get Hak back.

  • Jason*Thundermug*

    I am amazed by fellow Cub fans who already want Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Dale Sveum fired for this 4-12 start. This is a work in progress that won’t be solved in a few month period. This is going to take alot of time to get the team that these guys want.

    This year is for getting something for players that are on the team now but not in the future plans(Like Garza, Dempster,Sota,Marmol among others. This year is for a handful of prospects (Rizzo,Jackson, W. Castillo) for example be ready when their name is called and get some experience ( Won’t happen till June at the earliest)

    I know it’s not easy watching this team right now but keep in mind this team is going to look different from midseason to the end of the season and relax and believe that the Cubs are headed in the right direction with Theo and the Gang !

    • Cubbie Blues

      Thundermug, you just don’t get it. There is no room for reasonable thinking. Now, where were we? Oh yeah. Off with there heads!

  • Njriv

    If Tampa waits closer to the deadline, it can give Soto more time to raise his stats and it would force make Tampa to spend more then they would normally have to.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Soto’s worth will be determined by demand and potential service time.  The less time he’s going to play for a new team, the less he’s worth; the fewer teams that need a catcher, the less he is worth.

  • rcleven

    Don’t take much credence in a trade by the press. If push came to shove I would take AJ because of knowledge of the AL. Power hitting LH catchers don’t come around every day.Would rather deal with KW. Easier to pull wool over his eyes. AJ has that brashness to piss of all opponents.

    • Boogens

      “If push came to shove I would take AJ because of knowledge of the AL. Power hitting LH catchers don’t come around every day.”

      Please tell me that you’re not suggesting AJ is a power hitting LH catcher. He is LH…

  • Jason*Thundermug*

    Cubbie Blues,

    It just frustrates me like 1000 fingers scraping on chalkboards who are sooooo down thinking this team was going to be a Playoff team and are disappointed w/ 4-12 start.

    • RY34

      most people never thought this team would contend or be good, but i also have to think that most of us did not think they would have the worst record in baseball either; maybe i am wrong.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        People should have been prepared for that, as the Cubs had (and are in the midst of having) one of the toughest opening schedules in MLB.  Every team that the Cubs have played so far is considered to be a playoff contender by some people. So, give a below-average team a bunch of above-average opponents to start the season, and you get something like this.

        The flip-side is that the Cubs will probably get some relatively easy stretch this year, just as they did at the end of last season.  People then will get excited about how “hot” the Cubs are, how they “look like their heads are in the game,” how they “hustle” and do the “fundamentals” right.

        • RY34

          Good point!

      • Shawon O’Meter

        I did. I made my annual trek to Arizona for Spring Training this year and walked away with this assessment. IF the pitching was decent, they will keep them in games long enough to steal some wins, but the offense is so anemic that it may not matter how good the pitching is. I predicted no more than 65 victories and I believe that has a pretty good chance to qualify the Cubs for the worst record in baseball. At this point, last place in the standings this year will result in first place for the near future.

        • Windy City Misfit

          Love the name … Anyone know how Jr. is doing?

  • Cubs Dude

    OK, Theo and Jed. Let’s see if we avoid trading Soto for a marginal prospect and paying for Soto’s full salary. That game has gotten old already..

  • ty

    Brett! Ted Nugent is performing ten minutes from a little desert-moun tain retreat of mine. This saturday night in front of 32,000 bikers and me. I just came back from breakfast and the Hell Angels are all ready arriving. All of downtown will be closed off starting Wed-buses will run. After his last week of secret service, Army canceling him, Paying ten thousand fine for killing a bear, he should be in rare form. Doors will also perform. If I survive this week I might report on concert. Noted you were Nugent fan.

    • When the Music’s Over

      I’ve been a huge Doors fan for quite some time, and recently saw the Doors in Chicago. They sounded great, and its sorta creepy how much the lead singer looks and sounds like Morrison. Any lineup will undoubtedly never be anything like the real thing, but it was still pretty awesome, and the closest many Doors fans will ever get to a witnessing the Doors.

      • ty

        Music and baseball. Life is pretty-pretty-good!

    • hardtop

      i dont know how you make a whole set out of cat scratch fever and stranglehold… though stranglehold is a reeeaaaallllly long tune.
      just kidding, ive seen the nuge, a couple times (including last summer with a bunch of bikers in south dakota)… he rocks pretty hard. it’d be a great show if he could stop talking gibberish between songs. the guys about a tenth as smart as he think he is.

      • ty

        Just want to hang out–mongols and angels. They respect old people-right!

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Theo, please trade Geo Soto already.
    But if no one picks up salary or only offers a prospect I don’t deem worthy……then……I guess…….don’t trade him and I’ll keep on posting things like “Why won’t the Cubs just trade Geo already?!?”

    • Cubs Dude

      Norm, if that sarcasm was directed at me please continue reading. If not, nevermind. I have never once said trade Geo. But I know your lumping me in with people who have, to make a point. My thing is why trade these guys when their value is terrible? You think thats a good idea? Hmmmm… Interesting tactic.

      • MaxM1908

        I really don’t think current slumps or hot streaks significantly impact a player’s value. These are savvy baseball minds. They’re not going to look just at Soto’s first 15 games of the season and say, “Hey, he’s only worth X because he’s hitting Y so far in 2012.” That’s more how fantasy players conduct trades. The front offices look to service time remaining, past performance, and other factors that go far beyond the performance in 15 games. While a slump probably doesn’t help put a player on other teams’ radars, I highly doubt it significantly impacts the ultimate trade value. The stats from 2010 and 2011 matter much more.

  • npnovak

    I had a dream last night that Soto’s leg got torn off while running the bases. It was pretty graphic, blood everywhere and people in the stands were puking.

    • ty

      That really happened. Did you miss the 9th. inning?

  • jim

    Prosthetic legs for soto, great idea!

  • rcleven

    Trading Soto:
    Be careful what you wish for you just might get it.
    We have 2 backup catchers now neither of them proven to be proven able to handle a full MLB season. When Clevenger comes back down to earth What will his true averages be. He is not a home run hitter and the wind wont be blowing in the rest of the year.
    It’ not all Soto’s fault the cubs are loosing right now. When the weather warms so will he.

  • Steve

    Lets face it. With the new draft restrictions, the Cubs FO is wanting the highest pick available next year, and that is the 1st pick. By golly, it looks like we are going to go for it. So, by that rationale, we dump everythng that isn’t bolted down ( Soriano)

    • Dave

      If the rational for any moves made this season were based on getting the first pick in the draft then I would be very disappointed.

    • Jay Anderson Jr

      I’m a huge Soto fan, but have you seen him running since 2008. He looks pretty much bolted down.

  • Jason*Thundermug*

    Rodrigo Lopez designated for assignment to make room for Bowden. #Cubs via @CarrieMuskat

    • Fishin Phil

      I’m happy with that.

    • Kyle

      That makes a lot of sense. Incremental roster improvements make me happy.

    • MaxM1908

      I think it’s the right move. Does anyone know if Bowden is available for tonight’s game? I saw Byrd is batting 9th for the Sox tonight.

      • MaxM1908

        Actually, just saw Muskat report that he’s at Wrigley warming up with the other pitchers and wearing #43. I hope we get to see him in action tonight. Muskat also tweeted that Bowden’s favorite player growing up was Ryne Sandburg. I think that’s pretty cool. Welcome to Wrigley, Bowden.

        • BleacherBum

          *Sandberg

          How the hell do you screw up the spelling on one of the most famous Cubs in history?

          Do you spell Grace as, Grase? Santo as Sonto?

      • mak

        Word was that he would be.

  • czechxican

    Shed that Payroll!

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