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It should strike none of you as a surprise that the Chicago Cubs are telling other teams that, as we approach trade season, they’re willing to listen on any player on the team.

According to Bob Nightengale, who cites “two high-ranking team officials [who spoke] on condition of anonymity because of competitive reasons,” says the only player the Cubs aren’t listening to offers on is Jeff Samardzija. Candidly, I’m quite certain the Cubs would entertain offers for any player, including Samardzija. But because of Samardzija’s unique situation – is he a breakout, front-line starter, or a fluke who will fall off later in the year? – you can understand why he would be difficult to trade. After all, how much is “enough” for Samardzija? I wouldn’t want to be the one pulling the trigger on that trade.

As for the rest of the Cubs, as I said, we know they’re available. But the one that will turn the most heads if he’s actually, actively discussed, is 22-year-old All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro.

Nightengale says Castro “can be obtained for two impact prospects.” Obviously Nightengale left himself quite a bit of wiggle room there – what is an “impact” prospect, after all? I’m fairly certain Starlin Castro will not be traded for “two impact prospects.” There are very few two prospect sets in all of baseball for whom the Cubs would trade Castro, a young man who is the age of a prospect but is already succeeding in the bigs. And, even if the Cubs tracked down such a set – let’s pick one out of the air and say Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado of the Orioles – would the other team really trade two of the best prospects in all of baseball for Castro? Why would they? It’s a deal that doesn’t really make sense on either side.

I hate saying things definitively like “X will not happen,” because baseball, like life, is considerably more grey than that. So I want to be clear: the Cubs will consider trading Castro. They’ll listen if teams want to blow them away. And there’s a teeny, tiny chance that a trade could be put together. But I’m confident that it would be quite a bit more complicated than a simple, “here’s two great prospects, we’ll take Castro” kind of swap. The price on Castro would be exorbitant.

But, as we turn the calendar to June, it’s safe to say: buckle up.

UPDATE: As I tweeted, Gordon Wittenmyer says the Castro part isn’t true, and that the Cubs consider him a “core” piece for the future. Then again, what else would you expect them to say. Just two days ago, Theo Epstein said he’s never understood, or subscribed to, the concept of making players untouchable.

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  • http://bleachernation.com RicoSanto

    Starlin has looked great the past 3 weeks at SS, maybe 1 error, making many super plays.
    Barney 1 error is playing a great 2B. They have improved alot as a DP Combo.If both could walk a little more. We are not going to get Robinson Cano’s numbers at 2B.Barney and Samardza are becoming some of the new young leaders.Wood and Demp days gone

  • Smashed Water Cooler

    I consider Carlos Zambrano an impact player…

    • Joe

      Now that’s good stuff!

    • Joe

      Was Aramis Ramirez an “impact” player? I would say no! He was dull. He’d hit his homers and drive in RBI’s over the course of the year, yes. But I never felt in a big situation, under the gun, he would come through.(And he never did) On the other hand, when a Sandberg or Grace came to the plate, I was always thinking something good is gonna happen.

      • fester30

        I remember a certain grand slam in a certain NLCS game in 2003. My recollection was that he was a pretty clutch player. A couple years there, he seemed the only one hitting consistently in the late innings. Perhaps it’s just my mind filling in false memories, but I am pretty sure we saw a lot of clutch moments from him. I think the problem with A Ram was that when he was really good, hitting .300 30 100 or so, there were guys hitting 50 homers, so he flew under the radar a bit.

        • Joe

          Can’t let 1 lucky hit stick in your memory! For that one hit in the NLCS I can think of scores where he was just a dude wearing his sunglasses and busting the Cubs balls by his inability to make contact. Oh ya! I think he blamed that on the shades of sunglasses. Please! What a crock of shit.

          • TWC

            Ramirez career with the Cubs:  .295/.356/.539 w/ an OPS+ of 126.

            It took me a long time to realize this, to get past the eyeball test of “man, that guy’s just a lazy dog out there”, but he was a colossal impact for the team.

            • Joe

              Really? Then how come Theo said “dump” him?

              • Bric

                Because the Cubs aquired him while he was just entering his prime. After 8 years in the hot sun and a couple of injuries that ended the careers of others Theo decided it was time for him to move on. Weather Channel said “was”, not “is”.

              • fester30

                duplicate

            • Joe

              Management doesn’t dump a “colossal” impact player TWC!

              • TWC

                Are you consciously being obtuse here Joe?

                Ramirez wasn’t “dumped”.  They offered Ramirez a contract.  Ramirez declined.  Could they have made a more substantive offer to him that would have encouraged him to re-sign?  Sure.  But they made a conscious decision not to, presumably because he didn’t fit their long-term plans (at >$13m/year), and Ramirez made it clear that he wanted a multi-year contract.  The Cubs’ FO made a gamble (an educated guess?) that his production over the course of his desired contract wouldn’t be worth it.  It’s certainly fair to debate the merits of that decision.  But it’s absurd — and demonstrably wrong — to suggest that he wasn’t a huge impact to the team while he was here.

                • Joe

                  Again. You don’t get rid of a “colassal” player as you put it. He was not “colassal” by any standard. I think away from Wrigley, he average by all accounts. Maybe below.

                  • ferrets_bueller

                    Was, not is.

                    Colossal difference there.

                    • Joe

                      Sorry ferrets. I hate the word colossal! Can be interpreted so many many different ways.

                    • Joe

                      Was, not is. Sorry ferrets! I was looking at many things when I saw your response. Yes, Ramirez was and not is.

                    • Hansman1982

                      Ya it could mean huge or it could be a word for the group of people fighting for plutos right to be a planet and everything in between!

            • rcleven

              Finally the voice of reason. ARam Could hit the ball period. Always hated his demeanor. His D was often comical having pop-ups hitting him head.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Actually, ARam’s “clutch” numbers were just like his other numbers, just like every other player’s.  He hit a lot of homers in late and close situations: but that is because he hit a lot of HR for mediocre teams that often were in late and close situations.

            • TWC

              Except for 2008, when his “late & close” stats were insanely high.  He had an OPS of 1.426 in 66 late & close games (94 Pas).  His ’07 late & close stats also outpaced his season averages.  For a while, he was “Mr Clutch”.

      • Nathan

        Actually, for most of Aramis’s tenure with the Cubs, he was considered league wide as someone you did not want to face in big situations. I remember reading/listening on ESPN numerous articles about how clutch Ramirez was, and the stats to back it up. For me it was the exact opposite, whenever he came up in a big situation, I thought the job was going to get done. I would agree that later on during his career, his numbers dropped in the clutch, which is probably what you remember most Joe

        • Kyle

          The idea that Ramirez wasn’t good in the clutch is just a myth created by people who don’t like him and want an excuse not to like him.

          • Joe

            Again. Why was he traded then? Give me a rational explanation! O.K. Let’s say he was the badest dude on this side of the Mississippi, why did Theo say enough?

            • TWC

              I can’t give you a rational explanation as to why Ramirez was traded.  Because he wasn’t.

            • Kyle

              Well, for one thing he wasn’t traded.

              For another, his defense and baserunning had declined to the point in recent years that he wasn’t really all that great of a player in total, although still a solid hitter.

              And most importantly, the Cubs offered him arbitration and he declined. On a longer-term deal, he did not fit with the Cubs’ plans of rebuilding.

              • Joe

                Kyle–Thats semantics. The Cubs offered a deal they knew he was gonna refuse. In essence it WAS a trade, not for players, but for cash.

                • Kyle

                  Accuracy is not semantics. It was not a trade.

                  • Joe

                    What? Not not offering a veteran a new contract is the same as a trade in my book. It just means a cash consideration rather than a player consideration.

                    • Kyle

                      Your book is one in which words have whatever meaning you choose to assign to them. You can call a draft pick an “execution” if you want, and in your book it will be correct.

                      But the rest of us speak a common English language, and in that language, it is not a trade.

                  • Joe

                    Accuracy and semantics are often confused! A trade is a trade whether for players or money. It is very obvious Ramirez was traded(O.K., free agency) for monetary value, isn’t it?

                    • Shawon O’Meter

                      This reminds me of the answering machine scene from the movie Swingers. Stop yourself, it’s getting embarrassing, please.

                • Cooper R

                  You pay for future performance not past performance.

                  • Joe

                    You’re paid for future perfomance and not past?(LOL)

                    • Cooper R

                      Lol? Aramis was on the decline, aging, and didn’t fit into our future plans.

                      Just give it up already…not re-signing Aramis doesn’t mean he wasn’t clutch or good in the past.

            • Nathan

              Easy…for one thing he wasn’t traded, he just wasn’t resigned. Obviously he wasn’t in the long term plans for the Cubs because he was getting older and his skills are not the same as they once were. You keep saying why get rid of a player like him if he was such a stud?? If you listened, everyone on here was saying he once was considered a very good clutch hitter and a very good player overall. That is not the case anymore. The Cubs are getting younger and trying to rebuild. Why sign a 33 year old to substantial money when he isn’t going to be part of the rebuilding process? It is almost like you are misreading what people on here are saying….

      • Jay

        Seriously, you don’t remember Aramis having any big hits. He was one of the best clutch hitters we’ve had in awhile. I remember watching numerous walk off homers. No I am not the biggest Aramis fan but clearly you did not follow the Cubs when Aramis was on the team.

        • Joe

          I beg your pardon! I knew Aramis before he came to the Cubs.

      • chirogerg

        you are an idiot. A-Ram was a beast at the plate. He has 300 career homers, won a silver slugger, and I can clearly remember at least 3-4 huge late game HRs (walk-off against white sox, grand slam late against phillies, and the NLCS shot). Not only was there his hitting, but his defense was solid too. I know this is controversial, but the only other third basemen that was consistently better were David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman. Ramirez was in the running for gold glove one season for sure. Personally, I think his low range factor was more a result of him playing to close to the line than his actual defensive ability. On top of that, he was my favorite player for a long time because of his sheer awesomeness.

    • Cheryl

      In several ways

    • wilbur

      Particularly on gatorade machines and catchers …

  • supergeek24

    Garza for trout. That would give the angles the best staff in baseball then we build around trout Castro rizzo and shark

    • Cub Style

      A man can dream…

    • Kyle

      Angels hang up the phone before we finish asking, unfortunately.

    • Patrick

      Angels would not do Garza for Trout

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      That move would likely result in the Angels hiring a new GM.

    • ferrets_bueller

      The only way the Angels would even consider trading the best prospect in baseball (sorry, harper-sheep) would be for Garza and Castro. In other words…no way. But we can dream…

      • Kyle

        If those of us who prefer Harper are sheep, the Troutskys are more like hipsters, who revel in liking the less popular pick :)

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    And now we get to watch the rest of the baseball blogosphere interpret Nightengale’s comments to the mean the Cubs will trade Castro for any two halfway decent to mediocre prospects, leading to them scanning their farm system for the worst two guys that might qualify.

    By tomorrow morning someone is going to be demanding that Theo be fired because some website stated that the Cubs are definitely about to deal Castro for two minor league journeymen and a backup catcher.

    • TWC

      “By tomorrow morning someone is going to be demanding that Theo be fired because some website stated that the Cubs are definitely about to deal Castro…”

      Oh, I think that happened about 50 comments ago.

    • hansman1982

      and Nightengale’s comment will have been a success.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        The most comical I’ve seen so far is a Red Sox blog that is convinced the Cubs would deal them Castro for a package that did not include Middlebrooks or Bogaerts.

        Of course, they also thought that Castro is a bad defender.

        • Cub Style

          Just go to MLB Trade Rumors are peruse the comments for a second. Some funny stuff over there, including a guy insinuating that Brandon Phillips and Darwin Barney are some how of equal value.

          Of course, come back here. We all want Brett getting his web traffic. :D

          • jfish1219

            I did that for about 5 seconds till I got a splitting migraine from the shear stupidity

            • Cub Style

              I tried to bring some sanity into the discussion. I feel I have failed.

          • MaxM1908

            I actually read that guy’s comments about Barney and Phillips, and I thought he was being treated unfairly. He was trying to discuss value relative to contract and everyone was trying to pin him to a straight up comparison. I thought he made some thoughtful points about why Cubs fans should be happy with Barney. He did say we could build the franchise around him and other player (which was pretty ridiculous), but I think I agree with him that I’d rather have Barney at $500,000 right now over Phillips at 12.5 million/yr through 2017. We can always upgrade at 2B later, but right now, Barney is the better bargain at the position.

        • Cheryl

          Someone will add onto that that there’s a deal in place to trade Castro and the rumor will grow from there.

          • Bric

            Funny you should mention that. I just read that Theo agreed to a deal of Castro for Solar straight up. I saw it on Cuban Bigfoot.Com.

  • Leo

    Cubs den is reporting that Cubs have said the Castro rumors have no truth to it. The Den calls Nightingale a rumor mangor

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s a Wittenmyer report denying it. Tweeted it a little while ago.

      • hansman1982

        hooray anonymous sources – the modern day journalism equivelant to wikipedia

        • Joe

          LOL!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          They aren’t all bogus… I have them, too…

          • hansman1982

            not all Wikipedia articles are bogus – (there are the ones I have created (and yes I am the world’s sexiest man))

            • wilbur

              Do you always drink beer?

              • Joe

                I think what Hansman is implying is Wikipedia is not to be trusted.(LOL)

  • Carew

    So uh I have a feeling theres gonna be a boatload of trades the next few weeks. Just not involving Castro or LaHair.

    • chirogerg

      really? why in the world would the cubs hold onto LaHair? or were you assuming they keep him until the deadline?

  • ChiTownGuido23

    I find it interesting that this is coming out now. Notice that Thoyer likes guys with high OBP and Castro has only 5 walks this year! *Fun Fact…Adam Dunn has 42*

    • Myles

      I hope he can play shortstop!

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I laughed when my wife yelled across the house that the Cubs might trade Starlin. She was bursting with expletives. She bought his jersey cuz I told her that he is one player the Cubs won’t trade. It’s family joke that if my wife buys a Cubs jersey that player is gone before the season is over. She has a nice collection of jerseys in our closet. Theriot, Fukudome, Zambrano, Maddux, and I’m not going in to look further.

    I told her to bust out another $150.00 and get a Rizzo.

    Here’s an idea let’s trade Rizzo for a ton of prospects before she buys that damned jersey.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I don’t see anybody unloading their farm system to the extent Castro would be traded. We can’t accept prospects for Castro. I would be looking for Stellar Hi Performing players already in the Bigs. No way we ever send him out for prospects that are just that. Prospects are not sure things. Castro is already a sure thing. End of Story.

  • ferrets_bueller

    I don’t like Machado, so that wouldn’t go.

    Arizona and possibly Seattle have the pitching to tempt me, but I’d definitely prefer that some hitting came back for Castro as well…
    So, two elite prospects…no. Three? Yes.

    On the other hand, who in their right mind is going to trade two or three possible studs for an SS who, while having an HOF ceiling, has yet to have an OPS over even .800, or play above average defense? Castro is, with regard to his ceiling, still a prospect himself.

    Everyone stays put on this one.

    • Bric

      Turner and Castellanos come to mind when you talk about two impact players. Interestingly, Lee and Archer are still listed among the top 100 prospects according to BA. But as you say, it ain’t gonna happen.

      • ferrets_bueller

        I would immediately call for Epstein’s head if he made that deal.

        Turner is a #2 at best, he does not have plus stuff. Most overrated pitching prospect in baseball, IMO.

        And Castellanos is still too raw and at too low of a level to deal for a young, high ceiling, ML experienced player like Castro.

        • Bric

          I totally agree. I think this is all just hype. I want to keep Castro anyway. However, if they offered the same deal for Garza (with another 1 or 2 low level players) I’d take it. It would miror the deal that was made for him in the first place.

          Or, if the Tigers thought about Shark and Vitters for Turner and Castellanos, I’d take that, too. Get younger and replace the same quality in talent. Also, I think Shark has a no trade clause because he wants to stay near home. Detroit is about as close to Indiana as Wrigley.

        • Lou

          Castellanos is too raw, huh? A current report has him tearing up single A pitching and batting over .400. In fact, Keith Law has moved him up in his prospect rankings. He’s proving he may move up quickly through the minors. I’m not sure too raw is accurate.

          • Joe

            Not wasting my time.

            • Joe

              Likewise!

            • Joe

              Joe, if you went one step further I would not say ANYTHING.

  • die hard

    Dempster to Boston for FILL IN THE BLANK
    Soto to Baltimore for FILL IN THE BLANK
    Campana to Dodgers for FILL IN THE BLANK
    Marmol to Yankees for FILL IN THE BLANK

    • Njriv

      Why trade Campana? I don’t see us getting anything back worth value.

    • chirogerg

      Dempster to boston for Matt Barnes/Ryan Lavarnway
      Soto to Baltimore for Eduardo Rodriguez
      Campana to Dodger for nobody….why?
      Marmol and Garza to Yankees for Manny Buanelos and Angelo Gumbs

  • Carew

    According to mlbtraderumors.com, another team has said that Castro is the first on a list of players the Cubs will NOT trade. Crisis, i think, is averted.

  • http://Cubbie4life.weebly.com Tonycampanathebasethief

    Eric jockish has no hitter through 4 innings(4 BB,4K’s)

    • Darrell b

      I will need to watch him on the archived broadcast.

  • AD

    Everyone hop over to mlb.com to vote for the Cubs vs Giants as the free game of the day. http://mlb.mlb.com/sponsors/mazda/fgotd/index.jsp

    • Patrick

      Ugh looks like Yankees and tigers. I already live in New York and get that game. Major bummer!

  • AD

    Yeah I know bummer!

  • DBT

    Methinks Joe must be very confused as to why the Cubs decided to trade Ernie Banks and Billy Williams if they were so darn good.

  • Jeremy

    Trading Castro is just an awful idea. You don’t trade a franchise shortstop. He’s been terrific at SS this year so far after a poor start. The only package I would seriously consider trading Castro for is Bundy and Machado plus more.

    • Joe

      Castro is not going anywhere.

  • Darrell b

    “According to Bob Nightengale, who cites “two high-ranking team officials [who spoke] on condition of anonymity because of competitive reasons,””

    It is very important that these beer vendors keep their anonymity.
    Any writer can claim anything from anonymous sources. Then everyone else will repeat it.

    • Joe

      Everyone does repeat it.

  • Patrick

    Just read on MLBtraderumors.com that Buster Olney reports there is one team that has expressed interest in Dempster

    • Joe

      Actually there are four(4)

      • MichiganGoat

        And those four are?

        • Joe

          I’ll give you two! The White sox and Giants. The other two I can’t comment on right now.

          • Spencer

            Lol oh man deja vu going on right now.

            • MichiganGoat

              Yup

          • MichiganGoat

            So your saying you have undisclosed sources or are you just reporting from the multitude of rumors circling around on the interweb?

            • Joe

              Not allowed to name the other two teams.

              • MichiganGoat

                So your just on here to say something you can’t support? You understand why that is hard to believe?

            • Joe

              I will say this. They are NOT American league teams.

              • MichiganGoat

                Again that is not saying much, if your going to come on here and make a claim you should be able to support your claim.

                • Joe

                  One team is despised the other is not. One team we have traded with recently, the other is debating. That’s all I can say. You might hear more in the coming days.

                  • The Show

                    The Reds? (Koyie Hill and Marshall Trades)

                    • Joe

                      All I can say right NOW.

                    • Hansman1982

                      Pay no attention this dude got banned from here about 4 months ago for being an insufferable douche. Did the same this then. Made wide reaching claims based on “sources” and didn’t know how to calculate a career batting average

          • Shawon O’Meter

            You do realize, if the Giants indeed are interested, Dick Tidrow is lurking in the shadows.

            • MichiganGoat

              Excellent, been a while since Mr. Tidrow has been mentioned. But Dick Tidrow doesn’t lurk in the shadows, the shadows are hiding from him.

              • Shawon O’Meter

                Truer words have never been written…(elipses, for effect) EVER!

                • Katie

                  This whole exchange made me laugh a lot and I got déjà vu all over again.

                  • Joe

                    Well we got you to laugh! Good sign.

                  • Joe

                    Hope all is well Katie!

                  • Joe

                    Ya, it’s me

                  • Joe

                    I’m the real Joe Katie! Ask me a question about the kitchen!

                    • Joe

                      I’m the real deal! “This is not a dating service”. I am so sorry for saying that! If I could take it back I would! I did not know you, and thought you were trying to marginalize what I trying to say. Yes I am the BetterNews guy. Please accept my apology!

                    • Katie

                      I thought you were banned. Apology accepted but just know that your margin of error is damn near nonexistent with me. And the truth is, this was a much more happy place when you were gone. Yeah, I said it.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      If, indeed, “Joe” is BetterNews, his margin for error as as close to nonexistent as it gets with me, as well. I’m watching closely.

              • die hard

                Wouldnt be in this mess if Tidrow was picked over Theo et al

  • JoeCub

    Geesh…there are some head-scratcher comments in here. Hoping the authors of which can claim drunkenness or something.

  • http://Cubbie4life.weebly.com Tonycampanathebasethief

    Nelson Perez hit a grand slam ronald torreyes hit a walk off solo hr and Brett Jackson hit a soloed HR as well as Michael burgess!

    • Njriv

      Shweet!

    • Njriv

      Jackson is slowly getting his batting average up

      • Joe

        Yes, but very slowly. But he has not gone 0 for since may 25th I believe. That’s good sign!

  • Njriv

    I’m kind of glad Jackson is going through this slump now in the minors and learning to get out of it. Rizzo however the only time he’s gone through a rough stretch was when he was called up last year. That will most likely happen to him again albeit probably not right away but it will be harder to work out of it.

    • Joe

      I don’t know if Rizzo will see that kind of slump again. Why do I say that? Well, he has been through the”grinder” so to speak. He is a determined kid!

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