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.