The Lukewarm Stove isn’t just for the offseason anymore. A reminder: the Lukewarm Stove is all about bringing you the latest Chicago Cubs rumors OR MLB rumors that relate in some way to the Cubs, even if said rumors are tenuous, speculative, and unlikely. Might as well cover it all, eh?

Away we go…

  • Both Bruce Levine and Doug Padilla did chats for ESPNChicago this week. In Bruce’s chat, he offered some tidbits: (1) Theo and Jed are waiting until the “right” time to make trades, and the “right” time is when they can get the most in return (boom knowledge’d); (2) Bruce is now talking about a Matt Garza extension like he’s looking for 5 years and $100 million (although the financial side of the game has changed in the last year, has it changed that much?); (3) Bruce again says the reason for the delay in Jorge Soler becoming a free agent is because MLB is thoroughly making sure he’s actually “Jorge Soler” (if Bruce is correct, then Soler either already has residency in the Dominican Republic, or MLB is somehow participating in that process); (4) Bruce thinks the Cubs will trade Ryan Dempster, who will ultimately consent to the deal because the Cubs aren’t bringing him back next year; (5) in the right deal, the Cubs would trade literally anybody; (6) David DeJesus could be trade bait if he keeps hitting well; and (7) Bryan LaHair would not net much in trade because he doesn’t have a long track record of success in the bigs.
  • Doug also offered tidbits: (1) No matter how bad the Cubs play or what happens to attendance, Theo and Jed aren’t going to stray from their plans; (2) it might be ideal for the Cubs to trade Dempster, but hold onto Garza to form a 1/2 in the future with Jeff Samardzija; (3) it kind of sounds like the Cubs will have better luck getting Dempster to OK a trade if it’s to a contender (obviously) and if they’re getting back a very good piece in return (Dempster might appreciate being able to help the Cubs that way); (4) the Cubs would probably only consider trading LaHair if they got a “whopper of a deal”; and (5) if Marmol doesn’t come back with electric stuff, the Cubs won’t be able to trade him.
  • Roy Oswalt remains a free agent, and no, he isn’t coming to the Cubs. But he is going to sign with someone, and it could impact the Cubs’ market for trading a starting pitcher like Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster (to the extent the Cubs try to trade them, that is). It’s believed that the Rangers, Phillies, and Red Sox are the leading suitors for Oswalt, who hasn’t pitched yet this season. The Orioles are also believed to be interested, but folks question whether he’d really go to Baltimore. Buster Olney says the Rangers are the most likely to sign Oswalt, at whom they’re looking now that Neftali Feliz went down with arm troubles that will keep him out for some time. If the Rangers ink Oswalt, it’s fair to say they won’t be aggressive in the starting pitcher trade market.
  • Speaking of Buster, he wrote a piece that’s gotten a lot of play in the comments this week. The piece (Insider) doesn’t really offer much in the way of new info, instead suggesting that the Cubs will face some tough trade decisions with respect to guys like Matt Garza, Bryan LaHair and Starlin Castro. He advocates trading Castro if the Cubs can get enough for him. Shrug, sure, if you get an absurdly ridiculous haul for him, pull the trigger. But that isn’t going to happen.
  • ALL APPROPRIATE CAVEATS: A poster on BCB named “joeby” commented three days ago that a Jorge Soler signing was “imminent” (that was basically all he said on the matter). On it’s own, that isn’t worth anything, but “joeby” is the guy who called all of the Cubs’ draft signings last year long before anyone else thought signing ALL of Maples/Dunston/Vogelbach/Shoulders/Urban/etc. was possible. That *doesn’t* mean this is certain, or that I’m saying “joeby” is legit. But, this being the Lukewarm Stove, and folks being absolutely desperate for any teeny, tiny morsel related to Soler, I thought I’d pass it on. For my part, I’ve not heard of any change in the situation – still waiting on residency in the DR, and subsequent free agency. This could all happen very fast, though, and much of it without us hearing anything. Given the upcoming international signing changes that come into effect on July 2, I still expect Soler to be signed before then (so does Baseball America’s Ben Badler, for what it’s worth).


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