Cubs Rumors: Garza, Soriano, Soto, Cardenas, Soler, Marmol, Hamels

Bruce Levine offered another chat yesterday, in which he touched on a number of Cubs rumors:

  • In general, and this is no surprise, the Cubs are expected to move any valuable piece that isn’t a part of the long-term plans by mid-season. Of course, the Cubs could define “valuable” and “long-term plans” however they’d like.
  • Bruce is emphatic about one thing, as he has been for months: Matt Garza will either be extended by July 31 or he will be traded. There is no in-between. In a trade for Garza, the Cubs should be able to get two top pitching prospects and a top infield prospect “at least.”
  • The Cubs don’t have a particular attachment to Geovany Soto, but, if they tried to trade him now, they wouldn’t get much back in the way of value (Bruce points to the Byrd deal as an example of trading low, and possibly not getting much value).
  • Bruce says there’s no way the Cubs would bench Alfonso Soriano. They’ll either play him, release him, or trade him.
  • The Cubs feel like Adrian Cardenas can be an everyday second baseman … if his defense improves. It seems to me that, if Cardenas keeps hitting like he has been, the Cubs are going to have to at least give him a look at second base in the second half of the season. They need to know what they have.
  • Bruce is optimistic that Carlos Marmol will be a great closer again. He’s still learning a two-seam fastball, and is changing his approach. That takes time to sort out, but the results should be noticeable. (Seems pretty optimistic to me…) Bruce doesn’t sound like he’s thinking the Cubs will be moving Marmol. I’d tend to agree, but only because I can’t fathom there being a taker right now at almost any price.
  • The Cubs won’t be going after Cole Hamels, according to Bruce, who says Hamels is too old for the Cubs’ core. I made a similar point earlier in the week, but I can still see the Cubs making the move, as it’s not like Hamels is blocking anyone in the system, and he could still be plenty good come 2014 and 2015. Bruce adds that Hamels is looking for five years and $100 million, which, like, dude, sign me up.
  • Bruce – like everyone else – has no update on Jorge Soler, who remains in flux in the DR. Bruce appears to have abandoned the theory that it was MLB holding things up, though. “I was told that the Soler situation is still a mystery to most, and that MLB is not the problem. I wish I could tell you more but there is no other news.”
  • Someone asked Bruce about the tight-lipped-ness of the new front office, and whether it’s difficult to do his job when the guys who hold the keys are like that. “As a reporter it’s my job to communicate with whoever is in charge. That’s way they do business, and I have to work with that and around it. Both new executives are good guys with great track records. They just don’t trust anybody yet, and that will take time.” In other words, credible rumors from the Cubs’ side of things are particularly hard to come by right now.

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

61 responses to “Cubs Rumors: Garza, Soriano, Soto, Cardenas, Soler, Marmol, Hamels”

  1. Brian

    Was thinking that myself about Cardenas recently. I agree, there is no way you don’t give him a shot in the 2nd half of the season especially with how this season has been going.

  2. tjtrigo

    I wonder if the hold up on Soler is due to the Cespedes/Agent issue right now.  Apparently, Cespedes owes his agents a boatload of money.   I am wondering if Soler’s handlers are holding up the residency paperwork to see if MLB is going to step in on the Cespedes deadbeat issue.  If MLB does not or if the issue does not get resolved in a timely manner, perhaps Soler will be out of reach for some time.

    1. CubFan Paul

      Two separate issues bud ..If anything, the DR doesn’t believe Soler is 20yrs old & is investigating his family background with a fine tooth comb

      1. MaxM1908

        I think you assume the DR works the same way as the U.S. with disinterested bureaucrats pushing the paperwork. My guess is the “fee” Cespedes paid was mostly kickbacks to “agents” who were really just people who know how to get things done (read between the lines: pay off the right people in DR government). Soler may be having difficulty finding receptive benefactors willing to go to bat for him after the Cespedes mess. No one from MLB can help out or get involved, because well, that would get you a nice FCPA charge before the grease even hit the palms.

        1. CubFan Paul

          You totally misread my comment

          1. MaxM1908

            I was responding to the part where you think the Cespedes matter is different from the Soler delay. I’m speculating that they are connected. Not sure how I misread your comment. From the second part of your comment, it appears you believe the delay is because the bureaucrats are doing due diligence. I contend they don’t care one way or another about his age; they just want to get paid before pushing his paperwork through the system.

    2. MaxM1908

      Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re connected. The people who greased the skids for Cespedes and rushed his paperwork through the system may have the attitude of once bitten twice shy. I wouldn’t break my back for one of these guys if they don’t pay up at the end of the day.

  3. MaxM1908

    Is the only advantage of releasing Soriano over benching him is that it opens up a roster spot? If you have that much money invested in the guy, you might as well let him play 2 days a week and maybe he’ll hit a few dingers for you. I can also understand though, how a roster spot is more valuable than any off-the-bench value he could provide.

    1. hansman1982

      The problem is that Soriano has a pretty complex swing (or at least I have read that in enough places to believe it is the truth) and needs consistent at bats to be remotely useful. Odds are the Cubs trade him to an AL team before the deadline for slightly more than league minimum in salary relief and minor league filler if they are unable to move LaHair and he remains productive, Campana gets on base at a .350 clip or we acquire a good LF in a trade.

  4. calicubsfan007

    Provided that Cardenas improves his defense, three things will occur: 1. Cardenas will be the Cubs starting 2b from midseason on 2. Barney will move to the bench and provide an excellent alternative when the starters need rest 3. The Cubs will be able to move DeWitt without the fear of not having a replacement. Whatever is holding Soler back, I hope it gets resolved soon so we can sign him. And all we can hope for is that Marmol gets his act together, because we would probably have to pay another team to take Marmol off our hands.

    1. Fishin Phil

      I would love to see DeWitt gone. I know Dale sees something in him, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what it is.

  5. CubbieBlue

    I like Barney at second and have become a bit of a fan of his. Is there any way that Cardenas can play third? I like Stewart, but I don’t think he is the answer at third. He has always been a .250 hitter with minimal upside in the power and average department.

    1. terencem

      I think the reason the A’s were willing to part with Cardenas was because scouts think he doesn’t have the arm for the left side of the infield. That’s not to say he couldn’t fill in there.

    2. Drew

      I admit, I haven’t looked into this with a ton of players, but Stewart seems to be the unluckiest player in baseball right now. As of today, (compared to his career rate/avg’s) he:

      Hitting a higher % of line-drives
      Has a BABIP .085 below his career average (.207 – the same as his LD-rate!)
      Has a HR/FB rate of 5.9% – more than 8% below his career rate
      Has a K-rate lower than career avg
      Has a BB-rate just below career avg

      I cant help but be optimistic about him turning it around. I know he’s not an All-Star, but hes definitely not as bad as his traditional numbers are suggesting.

      1. HuskerCub

        I think you nailed it on the head. It seems like every game I have watched Stewart has hit the ball hard 2 or 3 times but right at a defender. His luck has to change sooner or later.

    3. RoughRiider

      Cardenas has played Third, Short and the Outfield over the last couple of years in addition to 2nd. I still like Barney at 2nd, at least for now, but I can see the reasoning behind giving Cardenas a chance. If nothing else he looks like he could be a good option as a Mark DeRosa type player.

  6. Kyle

    This all sounds about right.

    Their willingness to hold down MLB assets in AAA for a season where they aren’t trying to compete makes a lot of sense given their plan, even if I’m not in love with that part of the plan.

  7. terencem

    I think Bruce is right about Soriano. Look at the Angels and Wells as an example of how other teams handle these situations and DiPoto is a pretty respected GM.

  8. Drew

    I see no reason to keep Cardenas down in AAA. What he brings to the table offensively should be enough to play him everyday, leaving Barney to become one of the best utility guys in the league.

    Lets face it, Cardenas is fits the type of player Hoyer and Epstein want FAR better than Barney does.

    1. terencem

      This sounds right to me. Barney is a quality utility player and probably wouldn’t start on most MLB teams. If anything, most teams would probably see him as a light hitting but slightly above average fielding shortstop. He’s a great guy to have around while he’s still cheap.

  9. cubsin

    The Cespedes flap might be holding up Soler’s residency in the D.R. now, but it doesn’t explain the long, long delay before Cespedes failed to pay his “agents.” There isn’t anybody in the D.R. who doesn’t want him signed by the end of June, unless they’re Cardinal fans who are sure he’ll sign with the Cubs.

    1. MaxM1908

      I disagree with “There isn’t anybody in the D.R. who doesn’t want him signed by the end of June.” Jorge Soler has a motivation to be a free agent before the end of June, but that doesn’t mean the bureaucrats do. If they know he gets that much more money before the rules kick in, that gives them leverage over him. They can hold it up unless and until they get paid. I’m cynical of human nature, and I don’t believe anybody involved is going to help him out of the goodness of their hearts. They want a cut of the eventual payout. If he can’t or won’t provide it to them, they can hold it up until he does pay.

  10. Noah

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again, but Bruce is good at reporting things that are actually happening (he’ll often to be the first to know a trade has happened), but his analysis of future possibilities is terrible, and has actually gotten a lot worse with the new regime, which is much more tight lipped about these sort of things than Hendry’s was. Hamels will be 29 through all of next season. I don’t think he realizes how often a pitcher who isn’t yet 30 of his (or Greinke’s) caliber reaches free agency. It hasn’t happened since C.C. Sabathia, who was less than a half year younger when he reached free agency than Hamels will be. Cliff Lee was 32 when he reached free agency, and the other pitchers to reach the open market since Sabathia have been a step down in quality.

    For either Hamels or Greinke, if you give them a six year contract, they’ll only be 34 by the end of the deal. When starting pitchers of that quality hit the market, sometimes you have to take the risk even if you might not be in a position to compete until year 3 of the contract.

    With that said, I think Hamels ends up with Dodgers. Not sure where Greinke will end up.

  11. OlderStyle

    I don’t know how bad Cardenas’s fielding is but it would have to be atrocious to not consider letting him come up and hit to supplement this anemic offense. Barney can be the back up middle INF.
    Soriano is not going to ride the pine or platoon for a multitude of reasons. As soon as he realistically starts blocking someone, he’ll be gone one way or another.
    I fully expected the situation on Garza to be realized by the deadline. Odds are on his being traded if the rumor that he wants a no-trade clause in his contract is correct. I’d be fine with him being traded for the appropriate assets.
    Soto won’t get much value= not anxious to trade him, unless it becomes apparent he’s blocking Castillo or Clevenger.
    Marmol not much trade value= see above.
    Cole Hamels, meh. For the price he’ll command, I would rather not.
    bottom line= I have to continue to be patient while the club takes its lumps and contracts expire and kids develop. and that’s okay because there is a long-term plan in place and if nothing else, that’s a new thing for this organization. yes, sir, I like it.

    1. Steve

      Nicely said Olderstyle

    2. cubs1967

      34 is not old. cubs need to sign either hamels or greinke; enough with this building from within crap; there are not any good pitchers at AAA or even AA; need to go for it.
      103 yrs and counting…….soon 104………….tick-tock-team theo.

  12. A_Mazz_ing

    As much as I would love to get a haul for Garza… I’m really on the fence. He’s my favorite Cub, but will he be too old by time we’re competing? I mean like Bruce said, it would have to be a haul including two top pitching prospects and a top position player at the minimum (man, Drew Smyly would be nice about now).

    1. RoughRiider

      If Garza is “too old by time we’re competing” the Cubs will be starting over again and Theo and company will be gone. Garza is 28 years old.

  13. lou brock lives

    Cubs have 3 of the first 56 picks in the June Draft – they should all be college starting pitchers – preferably lefties without control issues. My # 1 pick would be Oklahoma State’s Andrew Heaney. This guy has terrific control & gets a ton of K’s & ground balls. Hamels will be done by the time the Cubs are ready to contend on a regular basis.

    1. Rob

      I understand the Cubs need to develop some pitching. However, they should not draft only pitchers in those first three picks if the best available player is a hitter, even one who plays a position of depth within the organization. They need to stockpile talent of all kinds to have a successful system.

  14. ty

    Junior Seau dead! What a talent.

    1. calicubsfan007

      Agreed, what a shame. He was a key member to the San Diego community. He will be missed.

  15. Cubs Dude

    If Hamels is too old, I am curious what type of big time free agent the Cubs will go after in the near future. Aren’t most free agents 28-29? Just wondering if they are a couple year away from making a splash in free agency…

    1. Smitty

      I have been wondering this as well. I wouldn’t go longer than 5 years on Hamels, but I would think that Hamels is exactly the type of free-agent we want to go after with our payroll excess.

    2. When the Music's Over

      This is exactly what I was thinking. If 29 year olds are too old, who are the Cubs going to spend their money on, and how are they going to get any impact talent on this team in the short run? If this is how they will operate, the Cubs might not be ready to be a playoff contender until 2015.

      5 years, $100M on Hamels is a no brainer.

      1. cubs1967

        no kidding………last time i checked theo had a 5 yr contract; this yr is lost; so 4 more to make the playoffs. theo knows that’s the goal–right??……..playoffs; not just a fancy minor league system or lots of buddies hired for the front office.

  16. TC

    Bruce is fucking high if he thinks Hamels is only looking for 5yrs/100mil

  17. Cubs Dude

    That’s exactly what I was thinking. WIth what he’s done and being lefthanded I am thinking 6 at 125 million minimum.

  18. Richard Nose

    No doubt. That might be a number Philly throws at him for an extension right now. But soon as he hits free agency some obnoxious mother fucker (Magic Johnson) will be on his teet with a 10 year deal.

  19. Norm

    I think Bruce was referring to Garza with the 5/$100….hard to tell from the chat because the person asking the questions used “Cole Hamels” as his moniker, but asked about Garza.
    The only way it makes sense is if Garza is asking for 5/100.

    1. Cubs Dude

      If Garza is asking for that, I trade him asap. Love the guy, but not a 20 mill. a year pitcher.

      1. Richard Nose

        Yeah thatd be shit too. Especially after seeing everyone compare him to Danks and talking 5 years in the $80 mills.

  20. Pat

    I wouldn’t be totally surprised if Garza is looking for something like 20 a year. He and his agent did ask for over 12 in his arb3 (of 4) year. Typically a payer gets 60% of FA salary in that year.

    1. Cubs Dude

      Apparently, the Red Sox asked for Castro and Garza as Theo compensation. Doesn’t make it realistic. If Garza thinks he is Verlander, trade his ass. Sorry Garza, ur my boy, but come on now…

    2. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      He is good, but not 20 million good.

  21. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    I would be intrigued about a Yankess package that could come up by mid-season.

    1. ari gold

      I wouldn’t really want anything the Yankees could offer in terms of pitching. Both Banuelos and Betances have been absolutely horrendous this year and long term they might project more to the bullpen. Too high risk.

      1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        I will take years of data over a couple of weeks. At this point they would pay the most for Garza.

  22. Kyle

    Prices are on the rise for ballplayers. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see a player of Garza’s caliber getting $20 million/year very soon.

  23. Norm

    Me neither. If Fangraphs valuation is anything near believable, he was worth $22.7M last year…

    1. Cubs Dude

      If I was GM I wouldn’t want Garza on my watch at over 20 mill. a year, even with escalation. You go right ahead fangraphs.. Good luck.

  24. Bric

    What? Levine says Soto has little more value around the league than Byrd? Don’t these baseball execs understand the concept of “Up year, down year”? It’s based on statistics.

    1. calicubsfan007

      I tend to not really listen to what Levine says. He was wrong about Theo coming here and he’s been wrong about other things too. Baseball execs are smarter than what Levine says.

      1. Cubs Dude

        Not to be harsh, but It seems Levine is fucking clueless. Ok, thats harsh, sorry…

        1. Pat

          Compared to who? He actually seems to get stories right more often than many of the other local journalists. It’s certainly not all the time, but better than most.

      2. Bric

        You’re right. Soto is worth a “metric ton” of prospects. Direct quote on this site from some time last July which was supported by about 10 other people (not me). Woo-hooo! I stand corrected in my misgivings of his value. I wonder who we’ll get.