There have been a few useful trade rumor bits this week, even as we march closer to the end of the season. August trades, you’ll recall, are quite possible …
- Ed Lynch, the former Cubs GM and current scout with the Blue Jays, was out West earlier in the week to scout the Cubs. Why would the Blue Jays be scouting the Cubs? I can’t say for sure, but with Jose Bautista out with a wrist injury that’s taking its time to heal, it’s not inconceivable that they’d be looking at Alfonso Soriano. If the Cubs eat enough salary, Soriano could be a nice OF/DH option for the Blue Jays for the next couple years. Would he accept a trade to Toronto, though?
- Phil Rogers adds that the Orioles should be considering Soriano (in addition to the Rays), given their weak production in left field (and the fact that they’re clearly going for it, as evinced by their Manny Machado call-up). Neither their left field spot or their DH spot has an OPS over .709. Soriano would obviously be a huge upgrade. There were offseason whispers that Soriano had made it known he wouldn’t go to Baltimore, but that was before the O’s were, like, surprisingly competitive. Maybe he’d rethink it now.
- Bruce Levine chatted this week: (1) Bruce thinks Bryan LaHair remains a trade possibility this month, but adds that LaHair may “revisit his options” in the offseason (what options does LaHair have? He’s under the Cubs’ control right now if they decide to renew his contract – they could trade him or sell his contract to Japan, but it’s up to the Cubs); (2) no one is going to claim Alfonso Soriano on waivers (yeah … ), but he could clearly help a team in need of a bat this year; (3) Matt Garza will have more trade value this Winter than next July, but Bruce doesn’t mention the biggest reason why: assuming Garza is believed to be healthy this Winter, teams will want Garza before the season starts, because that’s the only way to receive draft pick compensation if he leaves at the end of 2013 (you have to have a player for a full season to make him a “qualifying offer”); (4) Bruce expects the Cubs to sign “credible” free agents over the offseason (which means “not top”) so that the product on the field isn’t pure crap, and so that they might have the option of trading those guys (like they did with Paul Maholm – though, I’d note that it can be hard to get those guys to sign with you if the reputation is out there that you’re just going to spin them off midseason – players tend to prefer stability); and (5) there is a lot to like about Bruce, but you’re going to want to ignore anything he says about the process of trading players in August (Bruce: here’s a refresher), because it’s a mess.
- Ben Nicholson-Smith held a chat at MLBTR, but there wasn’t a ton of Cubs-related bits. He mentioned that he doesn’t see the Cubs as suitors for Zack Greinke after the season (instead, it’ll likely be teams more ready to go for it in 2013 (I tend to agree, and I’m also still not sure Greinke is worth the kind of contract he’s going to get)). Ben thinks the biggest free agent contract this Winter goes to Josh Hamilton, by the way. I’m not sure about that, given his recent tobacco-related slump (he tried to quick chewing, and it caused him serious problems at the plate), his age, his ancillary concerns, and what might be a limited market for him.
- I’m not sure Ian Stewart’s agent will be thrilled to hear that, a couple weeks ago on Twitter, Stewart answered a question about his expected future with the Cubs, saying that he expects to be non-tendered, and would accept a one-year, $1.5 million offer to stay in 2013. That’s something I think the Cubs should *strongly* consider. Stewart, you’ll recall, is recovering from wrist surgery, that may have finally cleared up a lingering problem that has plagued him for years.