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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.
  • Drew7

     “this is the optimum time to trade Matt Garza if the Cubs decide to do so”

    Disagree – That time was during the off-season.

    • Jeff

      Disagree – That time is at the trade deadline! If a team thinks it has a chance to win the division and go to the World Series, it is more likely to overpay when making a trade. Why would you give away better prospects in the off-season when 1.) your not sure if you will be in contention, i.e. injuries and pitching and 2.) Your not sure how your prospects will be playing that season.

      You wouldn’t want to move a prospect if he goes and has a break out year with the new team and you might be more willing to trade a previous “untouchable” if he looks like he’s not progressing as well as you would like.

      • Drew7

        Good point(s?), but are those outweighed by –

        A) The team having a full 2 years of control as opposed to 1 and 2 months?
        B) The regression in his performance (ERA+ of 98 vs 118 last year, FIP of 4.05 vs 2.95)?

        I say no

        • Jeff

          Those questions are answered by the fact that the new team is:

          1.) A winning team in contention every year and willing to extend the player moving forward

          2.) That the regression in stats is more a reflection of the bad team that player is on than the individual performances of the player.

          • Drew7

            I don’t think those are answers at all.

            1.) regardless of how good a team is, the longer a good player has until FA, the more valuable they are.

            2.) If this had anything to do with it, why would guys like Castro, Barney, Dempster, Dejesus, and Soriano be having better years than last year? The only way I buy that is if I were talking about W-L record, which would be pointless.

            • Jeff

              Wow, Castro’s OBP is .316, Barney is (only slightly) better because it’s his second year. Dempster has no wins to show for his good performances, DeJesus has a fair OBP but other than his decent defense nothing is extraordinary, Soriano has a .315 OBP but at least he’s driving in a few runs with those homers, still not breaking the bank.

              As a whole they are NOT preforming better than last year!! Hence the record, they are merely mediocre with a few good performers.

              There is value in performance to some teams, especially winning teams. Only the losing teams worry about control years.

              • Drew7

                your evaluation skills may need updated.

                 

                Just because its Barney’s 2nd year doesnt mean he *automatically* improves at age 26.

                Castro has vastly improved his defense, in addition to showing more power. It may not be a huge improvement, but I view it as one.

                Dempster’s win total has absolutely nothing to do with his performance, so I’m not sure why you went down that road.

                Soriano driving in runs has nothing to do with it. He has produced at an above-average level this year, period.

                They all have improved, some greatly, only one (Castro) can even be debated; the win total has more to do with losing the production of ARAM,  Pena, Soto and Byrd falling off, Garza slipping and the massive loss in production from the pen.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Indeed: the term “sophomore slump” exists to describe the “tendency” of 2nd year players to do worse than they did their first year.  Of course, it’s purely a sampling artifact; there is a tendency for players to do better their 2nd year, but it’s not a huge one.

                  As for “desperation,” this should be easy to determine.  Just tally up the actual trades over the last 5-6 years. Now, the new CBA has altered how valuable prospects are: but the relative value of established players with X-years of control should emerge.

                • Jeff

                  “They all have improved, some greatly, only one (Castro) can even be debated; the win total has more to do with losing the production of ARAM, Pena, Soto and Byrd falling off, Garza slipping and the massive loss in production from the pen.”

                  “Soriano driving in runs has nothing to do with it. He has produced at an above-average level this year, period.”

                  How is a .266 AVG with a .315 OBP above average?

                  Really?????????????? your evaluation skills may need updated.

                  The only thing you have right is that the pen sucks

                  • Drew7

                    So tell me why I’m wrong, since you proved your points so well last time. LaHair has done well replacing Pena. Aside from that, tell me how Garza slipping, replacing ARam with Stewart, and Soto and Byrd taking dumps all over the field hasnt effected this year’s win total. Just because you added an extra 13 question-marks on “really?” doesnt mean your point is any more valid.

                    My point was that they have all played *better*. Like I said, Castro is the only one of those guys who’s improvement from last year to this year can even be debated.

                     

                    • Jeff

                      You make the argument that they are playing *better*
                      Who is playing better? and playing better than to what?
                      Are they playing better than their historical stats?

                      Better than league average?

                      At a level that makes them the top at their position?

                      Pitching is hard to quantify based on win record because team play affects that.

                      Dempster’s are great obviously, but Garza’s aren’t bad either, with the exception of ER. statistically, the rest of the stats are close.

                      Put Garza with his 4.50 ERA on a good team and he will be better than what he is on the Cubs.

                    • Drew7

                      “Who is playing better?” – Im not typing that out for the 3rd time.

                      “and playing better than to what?Are they playing better than their historical stats?Better than league average?At a level that makes them the top at their position?”

                      - In my original post, I compared Garza’s performance to last year, you said it was because of him being on a bad team this year (btw, did you watch last year?). To prove you wrong, I cited multiple cases of players playing better this year than they played last year.

                      “Pitching is hard to quantify based on win record because team play affects that.”

                      - I’m not sure what you mean here, but to clarify, I would never judge performance based on a ptichers W-L record. If you are saying all pitchers’ stats are effected by team play, well, thats just not true (thats why I used FIP (btw: his xFIP is .5 higher too))

                      “Put Garza with his 4.50 ERA on a good team and he will be better than what he is on the Cubs.”

                      - No, hes a pitcher with a 4.50 ERA with a better W-L record.

                       

                  • Drew7

                    “How is a .266 AVG with a .315 OBP above average?”

                    How is a -

                    .800 OPS

                    115 OPS

                    107 wRC+

                    .337 wOBA

                    - not average? Mine need updated huh? hmmm….

                    • Jeff

                      Oh, by the way, Soriano is currently playing below his career average numbers.

                    • Drew7

                      No, but I wouldnt expect any 36 yr old outfielder with 86 yr old knees to play above his career numbers.

                       If I say someone is producing “above average”, and 2 of the stats I use to prove my point are based on league averages, do you really think I’m talking about him producing above his *career* averages?

                      Lesson: use smart-ass remarks wisely.

                    • richard nose

                      Get a room! JK, I vote Drew on this one!

            • calicubsfan007

              Drew 7: Teams tend to be more desperate at the deadline to get the players they need to have an advantage. In the offseason, the existence of good to quality free agents offsets the necessity to complete as many trades. In this past offseason, the Tigers gave every indication that there was no way in hell that they would trade Turner, now there have been indications that the Tigers would be willing to part with Turner for Demp. Garza’s value has increased due to the “contenders” increase of being desperate at the deadline.

              • Drew7

                You dont think that has to do with Turner’s value at all?

                I think you guys are way undervaluing years of control. Its not a concern reserved only for *bad teams*, its an important aspect of building sustained success.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I agree with you, but I think Bruce meant from here on out.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Well, I thought so in the offseason, but there just aren’t going to be many sellers. Add that on top of they would still get the whole year of required control to net a prospect, he could be as attractive as Greinke for the overall package. He has pitched in the AL East. I think we can get some decent prospects. I thought in the Spring Castellanos and Turner plus one upside player would be good. Now, I think we can do better even with him having a down year.

    • King Jeff

      I don’t agree, the starting pitching trade market was pretty flooded over the winter. Garza is right now the top arm on the market, so this is definitely a better time to trade him than it would have been this past off season.

      • Drew7

        Meh… this offseason you were basically competing against Buerle, Oswalt, E. Jackson, and CJ Wilson, right?

        At the deadline, who knows. You could be looking at Grienke, Marcum, Dempster (if others think the asking price for Garza is too steep), and maybe even Hammels.

        I’m not sure the extra WC is going put teams into a frantic “buy-now” mindset on guys with a steep price tag. We may see a lot of less talented guys added for depth.    

         

        • King Jeff

          Derek Lowe, Gio Gonzalez, Matt Latos, Trevor Cahill, and Michael Pineda were all traded this offseason and you have to include Yu Darvish in that market too. I still maintain that Garza holds more value now than he did this offseason. The extra wild card is already keeping some teams from being sellers, as the Cubs and Padres are the only teams that are really out of it.

  • mul21

    What happened to #2? Some big secret? ;-)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha. The item was there, just not the number.

    • mul21

      Oh, now I’m gonna look like an idiot because you went and fixed it!

  • calicubsfan007

    I seriously doubt Barney and LaHair would be moved, at least for now. Barney has a chance to be a part of Theo’s future, as Barney in a lot of ways embodies what Theo wants from his players (I know his OPS and on base percentage could be better). LaHair is being put in right field, which means the Cubs are planning on preparing LaHair for Rizzo’s presence and Soriano’s lack thereof. If the Cubs wanted to trade “The Hair”, they would have continued to have him play his natural position of first base in order to showcase to other teams of his abilities. Would seem contradictory if either Barney or LaHair is moved now.

    • JNasty

      don’t you think playing LaHair in the outfield might increase his value? It shows he can play multiple positions if needed.

      • calicubsfan007

        JNasty: Maybe, it just feels like they are prepping him to play there for when Rizzo comes.

        • EQ76

          one thing everyone needs to keep in mind.. Rizzo struggled mightily last year when called up. LaHair has flourished both this year & during his call up last year. LaHair is cheap, productive, and if he can play in the OF, versatile. He’s also built in insurance if Rizzo either struggles again or doesn’t work out.

          We are all assuming that Rizzo will be our next superstar.. we have zero guarantee of that. If Rizzo does perform up to expectations and LaHair is passable in the OF, why the hell would we want to trade LaHair?? I don’t get the logic behind that at all. Both in our lineup makes us much better, much quicker.

          • Jp

            All that being said Lahair can’t hit Lahefthanders (.108) I believe. You like what I did there;)?

            • EQ76

              don’t care much as long as he’s killing righties. Also, he never seems to play vs. lefties anymore.. he could improve in that stat if ever given the chance.

    • Toby

      I’ll preface my comment by saying I am not comparing the two, but Barney could end up being Theo’s Pedroia in Chicago. I believe that Barney is too good defensively that he should stick around.

      • Jeff

        I like Barney for his hustle and blue collar work ethic, his defense is solid but his slugging percentage will probably never allow him to be more than league average.

        • hansman1982

          His OPS and wOBA are league average for 2B. His defense propels him into a top 10 2B – for league minimum that is fantastic.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        If you cannot compare Barney and Peddy (and you really cannot), then how will Barney be for the Cubs what Peddy is for the Sox?

  • Patrick G

    To be honest, I wouldn’t mind seeing Soriano stay for the remainder of the contract. It would be nice to get a decent return, if possible, but he provides a veteran mind in the clubhouse for all of the youngin’s comin up and where not winning now anyways. Then when his contract is over, when we hope to be a relevant team, a lot of money comes off the books and put that towards some key free agents.

    • SoCal Cubs Fan

      I agree for a couple of reasons, if we are going to pay money to move Soriano that is money that could be used to sign FA or even international FA. Also with the Astros move to the AL I believe there will be more inter-league play next year, which means more time to use Soriano as a DH. I think keeping him as a locker room influence has it’s benefits also.

  • Steve

    Why do I get the feeling, down deep in my gut, that we are going to get it stuck right in our culu when it comes to trading our 2 top pieces??
    Initially, I expected the following headlines:

    “This just in: The ______ have traded their #2nd,3rd and 4th best prospects for Ryan Dempster.”
    and
    ” In a mystifying deal, the _______ have traded their top 4 prospects to the Cubs for Matt Garza”
    Now, I feel like the following will be announced:
    “In a tragic sequence of events, both Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster have been deported BACK to Cuba. It seems as though both were here illegally.”

  • ramon

    I agree with calicubsfan007. I don’t think Barney or LaHair are going anywhere. Soriano isn’t going anywhere, either. It’s just a hunch.

  • Kyle

    Soriano is No. 12 in the league in LF fWAR. He’s a useful player and there are contending teams who could desperately use him.

    It irks me that we are going to have to give him away for virtually nothing.

    • willis

      It irks me the front office gave him 8 years.

      When Rizzo comes up, God willing he’s as good as we think, the lineup becomes kind of good. Not great by any means, but:

      DeJesus
      Castro
      LaHair
      Soriano
      Rizzo
      Soto
      Barney
      Valbuena/Stewart

      Lot of pop 3-5…decent pop at 2 and 6.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Giving him 8 years is what got him to join the Cubs.

        • Boogens

          “Giving him 8 years is what got him to join the Cubs.”

          Hey Doc, I had heard the story was that Soriano’s agent had already agreed with Hendry in principal on a 6 year deal with Jim Hendry and that Hendry then had to catch a flight. By the time Hendry touched down again the agent had gotten John McDonough to add a couple more years to the deal. I don’t have a source and can’t remember where exactly I had heard it. Maybe it was on the radio by Dave Kaplan, not sure. Anyway, the point is that I think he had already agreed to join the Cubs on a 6 year deal and his agent kept negotiating with the non-baseball people (kind of like Boras with the Tigers this Spring).

    • hansman1982

      Yes, there are always teams lining up willing pay handsomely for players age 37 and 38 seasons when that player has incredibly bum knees.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Don’t be surprised if the Cubs wind up moving LH reliever Russell at the trade deadline & get a pretty good top 10 prospect in return. He is young , cheap, & controllable. This is a commodity a lot of teams will be looking for come July 31st.

    • Jeff

      I agree, and I think he would be a wise move…every time I turn on a Cubs game..he’s serving up hits to the other team and blowing a lead. I must be his nemesis.

      • Boogens

        “he’s serving up hits to the other team and blowing a lead. I must be his nemesis.”

        Ditto. Every time I see him he’s walking guys, like last night. I keep wondering where he’s building his stats because it sure ain’t happening when I’m watching.

    • rcleven

      How are you going to get a top 10 for Russell if you cant get get a top 100 for Demp?
      Are we over rating our own talent a wee bit?

      • Jeff

        Maybe he meant an organizational top ten, not a top ten in all of baseball?

        • Njriv

          I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant.

  • whiteflag

    Attention: Battle of the Ballparks is down to the elite eight, currently Wrigley is trailing AT&T. You can vote here…
    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8074116/battle-ballparks-elite-8-vote-mlb-best

    • Frank

      It’s close–51% to 49%

  • rbreeze

    Barney is a nice player if he’s on a really good team.  At this moment we don’t know what this team will be like in two or three years.  If no one better comes along at 2nd base or if he’s not traded, he is a nice player to have on our team.  But only if Rizzo, Soler, Jackson, Baez, potential FA’s, trade aquisitions, etc. fill out all of the blanks that we have right now. Right now Castro is the only guy we can say at this moment that will probably be our SS in 3 years.  Maybe.

  • donnie kessinger

    I think we should be willing to listen to any reasonable offer that could net us a future piece of the puzzle, but I don’ agree with just randomly trading players. Unless perhaps it’s an aging player who could be blocking a younger one for years… would be willing to do that and take a loss.

  • mudge

    hilarious when people play nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah with advanced metrics.

    • Jeff

      Yep, if your going to have an argument, make sure it’s a good one

  • Drew7

    Apologies, Jeff. Probably time to agree to disagree.

    • Jeff

      No worries, we are all Cubs fans here, right?

      • Drew7

        Stress @ work brought to BN = bad idea.

        But yeah, I think MOST are Cub fans though (it would be Better if all of us were!).

  • baldtaxguy

    Interesting that Fregosi was sent to evaluate Garza – isn’t that Beachy guy getting the Tommy John?  Maybe now becomes the optimum time to trade the Garza.

    Or maybe my evaluation skills need to be evaluated…..

     

    • Dumpgobbler

      You would have to think Garza to ATL makes a ton of sense. ATL has the ammo to make a garzaesque deal without it killing them. Garza and Russell for Minor, Teheran, Gilmartin and Graham would help both teams I’d think.

      • The Show

        That might seem like too much, they’d be giving up their number 1,5 and 8 rated prospects and their 4th starter. I think that’s too much pitching to give up, I think they would have to throw a position player in there to get in return from the Braves.

        • Matty Ice

          Yeah they’re not giving up Teheran. Maybe Minor/Delgado and gilmartin

          • The Show

            I don’t think I would feel comfortable if we got that in return.

      • Jonski

        I think I would stay away from Braves pitching prospects…Minor reported arm soreness last night and they still let him take his start and do you want to look over the last 3 years .Medlan,Visicaino,now Beachy ,Jurrens all have had surgery or in the case of the latter is 1 pitch away.Do you really want to trade a proven pitcher for a bunch of prospects that have had tommy john??? Wonder how Toronto feels about Drabik who is on his second in 3 or 4 years.

  • Carew

    Does anyone know if Randy Wells has been brought up in trade rumors? I know if he does well as a starter again he will be, but i dunno if he has yet

  • Njriv

    Beachy to undergo Tommy John Surgery, Dempster to Atlanta anyone?

    • nkniacc

      They were in Chicago to watch Garza’s start as well

    • Dougy D

      I haven’t seen anything of the Braves farm system for a while, but it always seems that they have some young pitchers that they could move.

  • Steve

    I need a drink…

  • Charlie

    i love how everyone made such a big deal about starlin castro forgetting how many outs there were in that one inning against the giants. it happens to every player whether they will admit it or not. earlier this year it was ichiro, castro and today the entire white sox defense! i know when i played in college i periodically forgot how many outs there were. the people clamoring to trade castro need to forget it. sorry for the rant but i needed to get that out there.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      I agree but people also made a fuss about it because that cost them the game by allowing that run score. I still say if someone over pays and gives us a pack 2 top 10 prospect in baseball and another top 100 and another high ceiling low level I would pull the trigger but a team would really have to over pay for me to consider even trading him

  • http://Bleachernation.com Ramy16

    If Atl threw in Martin Prado to sweeten the Deal!

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