So … who wants to talk about Cubs-related stuff? Nothing can get us all back on the same page like Chicago Cubs rumors, eh?
This week, Bruce Levine did his chat thing, and Paul Sullivan did a podcast thing. Both were ripe with Chicago Cubs rumors/speculation.
Sullivan was on the Midway Baseball Today podcast (good guys, I’ve been on there a couple times) this week, and covered a variety of interesting subjects. Among the most interesting tidbits is Paul’s belief that the Cubs and Matt Garza aren’t as close on an extension as national media reports would have you believe. Sullivan says he doesn’t believe the two sides are even talking dollars at this point, and he’d be surprised if they reach an extension during this season.
Indeed, Sullivan speculated that the reports could have found their origin with Garza’s agents. Why would they want to suggest to the world at large that the two sides are closer than they actually are? To put pressure on management to make an offer? A trial balloon to see the way the winds blow? Probably something like that. But it’s very interesting to hear the stark contrast in Sullivan’s sense of the discussions (or lack thereof) from the sense you get from others.
Sullivan added that he thinks the Cubs would like to trade Geovany Soto if that were possible (his performance is obviously hurting things), and thinks the Cubs would like to bring Ryan Dempster back for another year or two.
As for Bruce Levine’s chat, he offered a few interesting thoughts: (1) Bruce thinks the hold-up in the Jorge Soler situation remains the background checking process (which Bruce attributes to MLB’s fears over the Fausto Carmona debacle; but many others have pointed out, the issue doesn’t even reach MLB until Soler has residency in the Dominican Republic, which we don’t believe he yet has), and there still isn’t anything to update; (2) Bruce doesn’t think an Alfonso Soriano for Josh Beckett swap makes sense for the Red Sox (duh); (3) Bruce thinks Bryan LaHair could play left field when Anthony Rizzo comes up, but the question is whether the Cubs can move Soriano before that happens because the Cubs aren’t putting Soriano on the bench (Sullivan agreed with this, for what it’s worth); (4) if the Cubs keep hanging around five-ish games out in the Central, they could look to add a piece or two mid-season, likely in the bullpen; (5) the Nationals will be/have been kicking the tires on Geovany Soto and other possibly available catchers; (6) the Cubs will shop both Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, but would prefer to extend the former; (7) Dempster might accept a trade to a contender if the Cubs tell him he won’t be coming back next year either way; and (8) if the Cubs extend Garza, Bruce sees them going after Cole Hamels (but Bruce asks if the Cubs would want to spend $100 million for five years of Hamels – once again, I say: um, yes please).