The latest from the rumor mill, which doesn’t need a couple days to think things over …
- “At least one club has inquired” about Alfonso Soriano, says Jon Morosi. Hooray! Except that, I mean, like every team in the league “inquires” about just about every player in the league at one point or another. “Inquiring” could mean nothing more than a phone call, “hey, you guys willing to give Soriano away for $1 million in salary relief yet? No? Kthxbye.” Soriano keeps killing the ball, so you’d like to think some interest would develop, particularly in a market almost completely devoid of right-handed power options, but it just isn’t happening. I can only assume that the Cubs have decided on a number, salary-wise, that they’re willing to eat, and it’s far lower than the amount necessary to spur interest. In that case, the Cubs will be satisfied to just hang onto Soriano for now. I would be very surprised if he were dealt at this point.
- You know the primary story on Matt Garza: he was pulled from his start last Saturday (which he was dominating) in the 4th inning with a “right triceps cramp.” He’s at home right now awaiting the arrival of his fourth child, and he’ll throw on Friday in the hopes that he can actually make a start on Monday. If he doesn’t, it’s very hard to see the Cubs being able to trade him by Tuesday’s Trade Deadline. Indeed, Jayson Stark reports that the Cubs haven’t assured interested teams – and there are many – that Garza will pitch again before the deadline. Despite that, the Cubs remain in contact with multiple suitors about Garza, according to Morosi.
- George Ofman says the first Cub to go could actually be Reed Johnson in a deal to the Tigers. Reed Johnson, who’s once again hitting extremely well this year and can play all over the outfield, has definite value to a number of contending teams. But, you’ve got to remember: that value is merely as a bench guy. Teams will want him, but the Cubs aren’t going to get a big-time prospect in return. In fact, I’d be pretty happy if the Cubs were able to get a prospect who checked in on the top 30 list in an average farm system.
- Assistant GM Randy Bush says that the Cubs will at least do *something* this week.
- ‘‘Yeah, we’ll get something done,’’ Bush told the Sun-Times about the Cubs’ pre-deadline activity. ‘‘We’re having a lot of positive talks with a lot of teams about a number of our players. We all feel confident that we’re going to be able to make a deal that helps us in the future.’’
- The same article notes that the Dodgers remain interested in Garza, despite the injury, and that’s a complicating factor in the Ryan Dempster discussions – obviously the Dodgers would prefer to have Garza.
- It doesn’t sound like Paul Maholm, who’s suddenly become rather valuable, particularly wants to be traded. “That’s one of the reasons I signed and gave them a [contract] option,” he said. “I finished last year hurt and everyone thought I was still hurt. They showed they believed in me and signed me, and I’m hoping to stick around for a good while. The fans are awesome.” Very few guys want to be traded in their first year with a team, so you can understand where Paul is coming from. But if a great offer comes along, I hope the Cubs won’t allow sentiment to sway the decision.
- Bruce Levine chatted this week, and shared some thoughts: (1) In exchange for Garza and Darwin Barney, the Cubs were asking the Tigers for Nick Castellanos AND Jacob Turner AND Drew Smyly – indeed, the Cubs’ asking price on guys is astronomical right now (or, at least it was last week); (2) Bruce doesn’t see David DeJesus as a legitimate top-of-the-order option for a contending team; (3) a team would not be wise to trade for Garza until/unless they see him make one more start; (4) the Cubs would like to trade Geovany Soto now if they got the right offer, and Bruce says the Angels have been watching; (5) Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker are likely to be moved, but probably not Bryan LaHair; (6) no interest in Carlos Marmol or Alfonso Soriano right now (Bruce mentions one team calling with peripheral interest last week, but they didn’t want to take on any of his salary – perhaps that’s the “one team” Morosi referenced); (7) at some point in the past, the Royals had interest in Maholm; and (8) Bruce says that what Ryan Dempster actually told the Cubs is that there were a number of teams he would “consider going to.”
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