We’re finally getting into the time of year when moves involving two teams, neither of whom is the Cubs, can have a dramatic impact on the Cubs’ efforts to make moves in July. Divining meaning from those kind of moves, and addressing the implications for the Cubs, is one of my favorite things to do (as you may recall from the Lukewarm Stoves back in November and December). So, you can expect to see a lot of that in the Lukewarm Stoves this month. Hope you are as into it as I am …

  • A couple deals – one completed, one pending – involving aging bats could have an impact on the Cubs’ trade market in the near term. In the first deal, yesterday, the Orioles successfully traded for 41-year-old bat (and bat only) Jim Thome, who really can still hit. To get a few months of Thome, the Orioles gave up their 18th (21-year-old pitcher Kyle Simon) and 21st (19-year-old catcher Gabriel Lino) ranked prospects (as of the beginning of the year), which seems like a pretty healthy haul. While the deal probably took away the Cubs’ best landing spot for Alfonso Soriano (the Orioles were about the only team said to be scouting Soriano), it does suggest that these rental type deals can still net a little bit of value. That’s good news, overall, for the Cubs, who are going to be selling some rentals in short order. (But, yeah, losing the Orioles as a landing spot for Soriano kind of sucks. Hey, Cleveland….)
  • The other deal that could impact the Cubs has Carlos Lee going from the Astros to the Dodgers for a pitching prospect in the Dodgers’ top 10 (Garrett Gould is the name you hear most), assuming the Astros include a whole lot of cash. It seems like a hell of a great return for the Astros, who’ll be doing cartwheels if they can pull it off. And the Cubs would probably be bumming, as they’d likely love to pair, for example, Ryan Dempster and someone like Bryan LaHair to the Dodgers for a healthy return. If Lee goes to the Dodgers, that kind of bigger deal goes away, and the Cubs would have to hope for maybe one good pitching prospect in exchange for Dempster. The hold-up in the Lee deal, though? Lee’s got a limited no-trade clause, which allows him to block a deal to the Dodgers (among a handful of other teams (he negotiated away his 10/5 no-trade rights a few years ago)). Buster Olney has reported that Lee has told the Astros he’s not going to waive his no-trade clause to accept this deal, but we’ll see what happens. Often, that’s just a guy’s way of saying, “I’ll waive the no-trade clause, but one of you two teams needs to wet my beak a little.” Obviously you’re rooting for this deal to fall through.
  • The Phillies are on the verge of becoming sellers, which could have dramatic effects on the Cubs’ selling plans – for example, it could put Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino on the market, both of whom would generally be more attractive than the pitchers/positional players the Cubs can offer. (You could argue that, overall, Matt Garza has more value in trade than a couple months of Cole Hamels, but I think it’s probably a lot closer than you might expect.) With Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay due to return to the Phillies soon, once again, you’ve got a rooting interest: Go, Phillies!
  • Speaking of Hamels, the Rangers are scouting both he and Brewers starter Zack Greinke. Each is a free agent at the end of the year, but each is probably a more attractive pitcher for 2012 than Garza or Ryan Dempster.
  • Ken Rosenthal says the Braves aren’t as adamant about not trading their top young pitchers this year if they think they can pick up someone like Matt Garza, and if they view Garza as a difference maker. Rosenthal mentions Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado, and Mike Minor by name, though I’m not sure I’d include Minor with the first two, in terms of attractiveness to the Cubs.
  • As for Alfonso Soriano, Jon Heyman wonders why he seems so unpopular on the trade market given how well he’s playing. Obviously Soriano’s remaining contractual obligations are obscene ($18 million per year through 2014), but the Cubs are willing to eat plenty of cash to make it a more palatable deal. So, where’s the interest? Heyman suggests that the Tampa Bay Rays should be looking hard at Soriano.
  • nkniacc13

    Yeah im bummed about the O’s getting Thome. I don’tthink they will be able to trade Soriano now untill after the year

  • THEOlogical

    I’ve watched the Braves all season (living in the southeast of course), and Minor I believe can become better than he has been. With a good pitching coach and some new scenery. Delgado, ugh, I’m not a fan. But Teheran, I really like, I could see him being a No. 2 or 3 in the very near future. McCann may, just may, not re-sign with the Braves and they have a catcher in the minors they will try out if McCann leaves. I’d love to have him in a deal, if possible.

    • Carew

      McCann and Minor or Teheran? That would be absolutely awesome. Make that deal Theo!

      • chirogerg

        the Braves would never do that. I’m surprised people think that they would be willing to part with Teheran. THEOlogical: he is better than that; Teheran is the No. 1 pitching prospect in the minors. His ceiling is Cy Young and floor is solid No. 2

        • THEOlogical

          Sorry, maybe I confused some of you, but I meant the minor league catcher that the Braves are high on as a piece in a trade. Not McCann, they would never trade him. I love him but the Braves would lose so many fans if he were traded away. And as for Teheran, of course he is good, I said Delgado is the one I could live without. I think Minor can become a decent backed pitcher and I’d like to have him and that minor league catcher in a deal.

    • Patrick G

      I very much doubt they would include McCann in a trade, especially since they are in the playoff hunt. Although he is struggling, pretty sure it would take a lot to move him

  • Ben

    I live 2hours from Atlanta and have to listen to their fans talk smack to me constantly. They aren’t that high on Minor, but they think Teheran is going to be an ace (the fans I know) I have watched Minor a decent amount this season and he seems to be good when he can locate and just awful when he can’t. If that ever clears up I think he will be a dominant 3 or a middling 2

  • mudge

    What a set of complexities – included who might be injured between now and the end of July. Who’d be interested in Soto if he gets in a groove?

  • RY34

    so excited to watch mather and baker today against wandy!!

  • nkniacc13

    braves sign Ben Sheets to minor leaue deal MLBtr reports

    • Patrick G

      Didn’t even think he was still playing

      • nkniacc13

        just signed minor league deal. First start July 4 in AA

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I’d be happy to land Minor.  There is still plenty of potential there.  I’d love to have Teheran, but I don’t see Atlanta dealing him for anything less than a king’s ransom.

    • Ben

      Where do you see Minor’s ceiling?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        He could easily wind up a No. 2 guy in a lot of rotations.  He’s definitely a very good mid-rotation prospect.

        • Ben

          thank you….I had him pegged as a 2nd division 2 or a good 3…..I just haven’t heard many talk about him objectively since the majority of my friends are Braves fans or not baseball fans

  • Mike S

    Not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet, but the Phillies have reportedly put Cole Hamels on the trading block


    Not good news

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Has theo hedged his bets with other players at the table who are calling his bluff. Its going to be interesting to see if get passed over when better players hit the market. Greinke and Hamels will upset the apple cart anc our leverage will be lessened greatly.

    • Scott

      On the other hand, a team (Boston?) could make a move for Greinke/Hamels thus forcing a couple of other teams (NYY, Bal, TB) to make a move. It could actually put more teams in play.

  • Dan Fredrickson

    I just read that the Carlos-Lee-to-the-Dodgers deal fell through. Maybe the Cubs can still package Dempster and LaHair together.


  • Deez

    I think Dempster, Barney, & LaHair should be pretty attractive to the Dodgers. I thought Castro was horrible defensively until I saw Dee Gordon! A deal for any portion of those guys seems well.
    Plus, Garza is more attractive than Hamels because you have control of him for another year around $13M, you can move him next year if you’re out of the race.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    I have to wonder what LA was offering for Lee. The one thing Lee has in this is his last year. The rumored prospect seemed a lot for Carlos Lee. I know it’s going to be very difficult to get anyone to take much of the last to years of Alfonso’s contract, but Colletti seemed poised to really pay to rent a used horse that is the sam age as Soriano. Really makes me scratch.

    It’s a little different in that we hear general talk about the Cubs but no names really for Garza, Dempster etc…