T-minus 16 hours until the Trade Deadline Blogathon commences …
- Interest in Alfonso Soriano may be trending upward, with reports that even National League teams – in this case, the Dodgers and Giants – are considering making a move for the surprisingly-still-kind-of-effective-on-defense outfielder. Long thought to be an AL-only possibility, if Soriano’s market expands to a few other NL teams, and if Jayson Stark’s report yesterday that the Cubs are willing to eat all but $2 million of the $36 million he’s owed in 2013-14 is true, the chances of moving him become fairly strong. That said, because of that money issue, and because of Soriano’s no-trade rights, I still don’t think a trade happens.
- On that no-trade thing, Soriano said this to Bruce Levine: “It will have to be a good city with a good team,” he said. “I would give the team the opportunity to trade me, but as I said the team and city would have to be good. Nobody has come to me about a trade yet, so we have two or three days left. We will just wait and see what happens.”
- The Mets spoke to the Cubs about Geovany Soto, but the talks didn’t get very far. I’m guessing the Mets were looking to buy low on a guy they figured might be non-tendered by the Cubs at the end of the year anyway. I suspect the Cubs won’t move Soto unless they get a legit – not great, but legit – prospect in return.
- Doug Padilla’s sense is that Ryan Dempster will still be traded before the deadline on Tuesday, and he expects teams other than the Dodgers or Braves to jump into the fray as the deadline approaches. Peter Gammons, for what it’s worth, was on MLBN today saying that the Dodgers “need” to get a Dempster deal done, and that they should part with either Allen Webster or Zack Lee to make it happen.
- Ken Rosenthal offers a source who confirms that the Cubs are not going to be giving a team a “discount” when trading Matt Garza, simply because of his minor arm injury. If a team wants Garza, they’ll have to pay full price, and I can tell you, that price is extremely high. The chances of a Garza trade remain remote.
- All eyes were on Josh Johnson today as he started in San Diego, his last start before the trade deadline. He failed to impress, though he wasn’t awful. He managed just five innings thanks in part to six walks. He gave up two hits, two runs (one earned), and struck out four. I doubt it was the blowout start the Marlins were looking for, and interest in meeting their asking price was already waning. I’d now be modestly surprised if Johnson is dealt, which is good news for the Cubs.
- The other big, non-Cub starting pitcher possibly on the market is James Shields, though teams are apparently starting to wonder whether the Rays will actually trade him before the Winter. Although he hasn’t been at his best this year, he comes with relatively cheap options in 2013 ($9 million) and 2014 ($12 million), so he’s got a lot of value. The Rays are said to be asking for more than what the Brewers got for Zack Greinke (as they should).
- The Astros made yet another move, trading 27-year-old third baseman Chris Johnson to the Diamondbacks for a couple quality outfield prospects. It’s interesting, but the Cubs don’t really have a comparable piece they’re planning on moving, so I don’t really see a ton of relevance here. I suppose it will help continue the Astros’ pathetically awful slide into awfulness this year, but that was clearly the plan.
- The Mariners are discussing free-agent-to-be Brandon League in trade talks. He’s a solid reliever, but one who’ll make a couple million over the final two months of the season. I’m not saying I’d *prefer* Shawn Camp if I were a contender, but I’m not sure I wouldn’t, depending on my money situation.
- If you’re wondering whether the lack of Cubs rumors in the last few days are due to your own lack of attention, it is not. An exec recently asked Kevin Goldstein, “Have you heard anything on the Cubs? They seem to have gone underground.”