The latest on Cubs-related rumors …
- Alfonso Soriano sounds even more resigned to a trade, assuming the Cubs can put one together. ‘‘My first choice is to try to win here,’’ Soriano said. ‘‘It depends on them. I feel comfortable here. I like the city, and I signed here to be a champion here. So I hope that when they get some good prospects and they have the idea to make the team a contender, I’d like to be a part of this team. Because I’m here to win …. ‘It goes both ways because I don’t want to be miserable. I don’t want to have a long summer or a long season. I just want to win, no matter what. If it’s here, I’m more than happy. If it’s not here, if they think they want to take longer than two or three years, then my contract’s done …. But it has to be a very good team to go to because I don’t want to go be miserable on the other team, too.’’ In other words, Soriano is pretty plainly saying what he’s hinted at before: he’ll gladly accept a trade, so long as he’s traded somewhere that has a genuine chance to win. Hopefully the Cubs can convince him that whichever team offers them the best deal is a team with a great shot to win.
- Speaking of Soriano, MLB Trade Rumors has a long write-up on Soriano as a trade candidate. Ben Nicholson-Smith says it would be a surprise if the Cubs absorb less than $35 million of the $47ish million owed to Soriano in order to move him. I would definitely agree – saving $12 million on a deal would actually be a tremendous return at this point. Nicholson-Smith mentions the Indians, Pirates, Tigers, and Nationals as possible landing spots for Soriano, though I’d add, at least, the Orioles, who’ve reportedly been sniffing around at Soriano.
- It sounds like the Brewers are still undecided about being buyers or sellers at the deadline this year, which hugely relevant to the Cubs. If the Brewers decide to sell, Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster suddenly go from arguably the top two pitchers on the trade market to numbers two and four, behind Zach Greinke and Shaun Marcum. Tom Haudricort thinks the Brewers are unlikely to trade Zach Greinke no matter what, believing they won’t get enough value for the two-month rental of an ace. Posturing? Maybe. But the Brewers almost certainly at least want a shot at re-signing Greinke after the season. If they trade him, they probably don’t get a real shot.
- Another competitor on the trade market for the Cubs is the Houston Astros, who would probably like to sell off pitcher Wandy Rodriguez, among others. The Yankees, Giants, and Blue Jays have been scouting Rodriguez (and Rosenthal added the Dodgers and Red Sox on Twitter), who is pitching quite well this year (3.29 ERA). Rodriguez, 33, makes $10 million this year, $13 million in 2013, and has a $13 million player option for 2014 if he’s traded ($2.5 million buyout). So there’s a pretty significant financial commitment there, but it’s possible the Astros could kick in some cash to make him more attractive.
- Bruce Levine chatted this week, and offered some thoughts: (1) Bruce expects Ryan Dempster back from the DL by the All-Star break (not sooner?), and says if a team really wants him now, they can check out his medicals and make a trade; (2) Dempster could net the Cubs two good, young prospects, and Bruce suggests folks may be underestimating his trade value in this market; (3) Luis Valbuena might continue to start when Ian Stewart comes back (not sure I buy that one); (4) the Cubs have no preference whether Anthony Rizzo makes his debut this year at home or on the road; (5) scouts from other teams aren’t talking about Bryan LaHair, which suggests other teams aren’t interest or the Cubs aren’t making him available; (6) this is the optimum time to trade Matt Garza if the Cubs decide to do so; (7) the Cubs know they have to eat a ton of Soriano’s contract to move him, but they still want to get decent prospects (best of luck); (8) Bruce doubts Darwin Barney is traded; and (9) the Braves sent top talent evaluator Jim Fregosi to Matt Garza’s last start.