Lukewarm Stove: Soriano, Blue Jays, Orioles, Garza, Greinke, Stewart

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.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

74 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Soriano, Blue Jays, Orioles, Garza, Greinke, Stewart”

  1. Tim Mo

    I’m probably in the minority that hope Stewart comes back. If healthy I still think it’s a low risk/high reward move.

    1. HawkClone

      I’m with ya, especially since it’s not like they’re really going for it next year.

    2. Flashfire

      Same. Before that wrist injury, he was pretty productive. He’s definitely a Theo hitter: homer, walk, or strikeout. The injury essentially took the first off the table, and walk or strikeout doesn’t make a major league player. I’d love to see the Cubs take a flyer on him.

      1. Internet Random

        He’s definitely a Theo hitter: homer, walk, or strikeout.

        He’s also definitely a Theo player in that he’s low cost with a potentially high upside.

        I won’t be surprised to see him in a Cubs uniform next year.

        1. PRcajun

          …and if he’s doing relatively well, they’ll flip him for “prospects” in by the July deadline.

          BUT then what? Does the Vitters/ [insert player name here who plays the Valbuena role this season] experiment start again?

          1. Flashfire

            Probably. Until they find a long term solution (Baez? Villaneuva? Free agent?) They still aren’t playing for a ring next season, they’re playing to restock the minors and find guys worth keeping for the run. We actually don’t know for sure that Stewart isn’t one of those guys yet, though I bet they’re kicking themselves for not upping the offers for Chase Headley at this point. (HE would probably not have gone anywhere at the deadline.)

    3. Jim

      I think the evolution of Vitters is in direct line with if the Cubs bring Stewart back. If Vitters fails then you are still a couple of years before names like Baez, Villanueva, and Candelaria could be ready for the Show. So far Valbuena has not impressed.

    4. rcleven

      I’m with you in bringing him back. Wrist injury’s are long road back to health though. Probably won’t be back to full strength till the 14 season.

  2. Matt

    Garza will have no value this winter. Who is going to give up two good prospects for a guy coming off an elbow injury?

  3. Fishin Phil

    Holy Smokes! That is the most sense Phil Rogers has made all season!

    I have to go lay down now, I’m getting a little woozy.

  4. Rizzofanclub

    I would like to see Stewert/Vitters at 3rd next year. Let them battle it out until someone steps up and takes the job. If they don’t well hopefully 2014 there will be other options.

  5. cubsin

    Spending enough to keep Stewart makes sense to me. They won’t have an excessively high payroll next year, and won’t be spending megabucks on free agents. They’re limited by the CBA on draft and IFA bonuses.

  6. Kyle

    I am a strong believer that Stewart deserves one more chance. See if he truly is healthy and if he improves. The guy has tons of potential and is only 27. He could be the guy to hold down the fort at 3b until the FO and coaching staff are truly in love with a 3b prospect. Which I feel like that is not the case with Vitters.

    Ian Stewart could be the guy of the short to mid term future, why not give him another chance.

    1. Internet Random

      That’s about the way I’m seeing it too… and it sounds like he’ll work for reasonable pay.

    2. Jonski

      1 thing for sure Kyle is he brings his glove to the park everyday and he was hated before he arrived just because people are so in love with Colvin and Dj which in both cases I think they are bench players .Another guy that never really complained until the wrist was a liability.

    3. TWC

      I am a strong believer that Stewart deserves one more chance.

      It’s like I don’t even know who Kyle is anymore.

  7. FiveFifty550

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Stewart come back. With any luck, he’ll be wearing a Cubs jersey when he makes his perverbial “comeback”. I have no interest in the Cubs signing Greinke. I think he’s overrated.

    1. Jonski

      Grienke is a frootloop and I got a lot of shit for saying it when he was traded.If you have a mental problem,bi polar,anxiety attacks whatever that plays in to your value if your cy young himself.Just watch in the off season he will go to the reporters whining talking about how much he wants to win and your honestly going to tell me the other 24 guys on the roster don’t get tired of that bullshit.

      1. Stinky Pete

        I can’t believe you would get shit for lumping EVERY person with ANY degree of ANY mental illness into one horribly cliched term. Weird.

        1. Jonski

          Do you want to go in to details or am I spose to guess what your trying to say.

          1. Internet Random

            He came across loud and clear to me.

          2. Ogyu

            Instead of guessing, perhaps you should just apply the same profound mental powers that enable you to classify large numbers of people as “frootloops.”

          3. Stinky Pete

            Well, okay. What my trying to say is that Zack Greinke is an individual who has dealt with anxiety issues in the past. You don’t know the severity, diagnosis, treatment or pretty much anything other than he took time off. This does not make him the same as others you might have known with a mental illness. This does not mean he could not pitch in NY. This does not mean you know anything about him other than his ERA.
            By the way, I have only addressed your first sentence. (Which just destroys any credibility your point might have had.) When has Greinke “whined”? And not sure what is upsetting about a teammate saying he wants to win.

            1. Jonski

              Bullshit this is a personal feeling (as in you need to check if your pussy is it hanging)Get a clue by a vowel anybody and I do mean anybody that know’s me realizes that Im from Wi.I won’t even mention the Royals as he was sayin that same stupid shit …I just want to win.Fast forward bitch to the trade that made him a Brewer and keep in mind this is another small market team ,but they were a bit different why because they could make a run….what did he do???besides being a fuckin headcase he struggled to win on the road (again all shit I pointed out) throwing teammates under the bus.Now we are on team 3 what did he do against a team in Oakland Tuesday night lay a egg.Well you say thats just 1c start right and im telling right fucking now that if the Cubs had that park they would have the same record and he got lit up …so perhaps this is more about you then Grienke .Fuck you and 10 others like you! Now im a follower of Brett Taylor and nobody will fuck that up …you dig!

              1. Stinky Pete

                I most certainly do not dig. Seriously, I’m not trying to be rude (In this post, anyway.) but I have a hard time following your argument.

              2. TWC

                Jonski, didn’t you make a big stink a couple of hours ago about removing yourself from this blog? *cough cough*

                Anyway, kid, that was as incomprehensible a screed that I’ve had the pleasure to snicker at in a long time. (Thanks for the larfs.) I’d recommend against the name calling though. Kinda make you look, I dunno… like a “frootloop”.

                1. ProfessorCub

                  “Jonski” MUST be an ironic joke account, right? It reads like a performance art project reminiscent of Joaquin Phoenix. If it is, than it’s brilliant…if not, well, someone definitely is a “frootloop” (or is it “fruit”?)…even if your (“you’re” ?) Cy Young himself.

                  1. Sweetjamesjones

                    You spell like doo doo Professor Cub.

                2. Internet Random

                  As ever, it seems like the kid who threatens the loudest to take his ball and go home never really does. I guess it’s an attention-seeking thing. (There must be some psych types on BN… isn’t that a symptom of one or more mental illnesses?)

                3. Jonski

                  [Ed. - whoa. Line = crossed. Consider this your only warning on that stuff - it will not fly, and you know what I'm talking about.]

                  1. Spencer

                    u mad, bro?

                  2. Drew7

                    Wow…that really got outta hand fast

                  3. TWC

                    Dang! Did I miss a freakout? Drag.

                  4. Flashfire

                    Very nicely handled, Brett.

              3. Ian Afterbirth

                You need to be have a nice long time out, sir.

                Then you need to pay more attention in 2nd grade this Fall.

  8. Picklenose

    Luis Valbuena .207 .287 .343
    Ian Stewart .201 .292 .335

    Are you sure that you want Stewart more than Valbuena? The numbers are pretty equally offensive for both of them, and Stewart’s fielding percentage is .955 as compared to Valbuena’s fielding percentage of .956. The biggest difference I can see is that Valbuena has started 12 double plays in 44 games while Stewart started 4 dp in 52 games. Can’t really see where one is a serious upgrade over the other.

    1. Wilbur

      If Stewart plays to that line again, we don’t want him. However, I’m willing to bet $1.5m of the Ricketts money to bet he plays to a much higher line …

    2. Flashfire

      You’re looking at this year’s numbers which were the result of an injury. Look at 2008/2009 before the injury. That’s the player we’re talking about. Obviously you had a Coors bias in the home runs, but Stewart is also older and (presumably) better at the plate. He’s not going to be great, but he could definitely help the lineup with those numbers. For $1.5 million in another lost season, what’s the harm?

      1. Picklenose

        At his best in Coors, Stewart hit between .240-.260. Those are Darwin Barney numbers, although with more power. I am not saying that Stewart is a horrible player, or not worth a modest contract. But I see people moaning about Barney and Valbuena’s offensive numbers. Stewart’s are not much better, even at Coors.

        1. Flashfire

          They’re not Darwin Barney numbers — they’re Mark Bellhorn numbers. Home run, strikeout, or walk. It plays with Theo.

          1. Turn Two

            I would rather take my chances with Vitters than a rehabbing Stewart. We had our year experiment there, it failed. If Vitters doesn’t get his shot next year, he will not be getting a shot in a Cubs uniform. You guys can have Stewart, I’ll take my chances with Vitters/Valbuena.

          2. Picklenose

            Stewart 08 .259 .349 .455
            09 .228 .322 .464
            10 .256 .338 .443
            Barney 11 .276 .313 .353
            12 .265 .306 .383

            Barney’s batting average is slightly higher, walk rate slightly lower, and slugging percentage significantly lower. Thus Darwin Barney numbers without the power. I am not anti-Stewart. I just want you to be a little more realistic – Stewart is not significantly better than other players who are being roasted. A little better offense, a little weaker defense. I have no problem with us taking a flyer on him, but not in counting on Stewart to really improve the team significantly.

            1. Flashfire

              The OPS is almost 100 points lower. That’s important in Theo-based analysis. And notice that a lot of that is Stewart’s walk rate driving the OBP up over Barney’s. He really is Mark Bellhorn. And Theo won a ring with Bellhorn. (At second, to be fair.)

              1. Picklenose

                I am okay with your Mark Bellhorn comparison. But you seem to be completely ignoring my point. Ian Stewart is not a significant upgrade over the players we already have, players that are being roasted for their weak offensive numbers. It is like trying to argue that a Ford Pinto is better than a Chevy Vega. Neither one is really that great and we should still be looking for a mustang.

                1. Flashfire

                  No, I’m disagreeing with it. The players we already have have much worse walk and power numbers than Stewart. That makes his lower batting average acceptable whereas Valbuena and Barney don’t take as many walks and don’t have nearly as much power. — those hits 26% of the time are much more likely to be singles, and are on a higher base because they aren’t walking as much. Offensively, Mark Bellhorn in his, uh, prime would be a *huge* upgrade over either Valbuena or Barney.

                  1. Picklenose

                    But we are not getting Mark Bellhorn, we are getting a player who is not showing any sign of matching the mediocre numbers he put up part of his time at Coors and none of his time at Wrigley.

                    1. Flashfire

                      I am okay with your Mark Bellhorn comparison.

                      But we are not getting Mark Bellhorn

            2. DocPeterWimsey

              “Barney’s… walk rate slightly lower”

              Barney’s walk rate is not slightly lower. It is hugely lower: Barney walks in 4.5% of his PAs, whereas Stewart walks in 10.3% of his PAs. If we assumed a weighted average of 8%, then the probability of getting Barney’s 47 BB in 1054 PA and Stewart’s 167 BB in 2674 PAs is about one over 10000000.

              That’s even more lopsided than the difference in slugging!

  9. Patrick W.

    Super conspiracy-theory like thought: What if the Cubs delayed putting Garza on the DL so the could clear waivers? Teams were scared off too much to trade for him, I imagine they would be less likely to claim him and his entire contract?

    This is probably nonsense.

  10. Pat

    Brett, are you sure the Cubs can prevent LaHair form accepting a offer from Japan? They only control his rights as far as MLB goes. I tried searching, but all I could find was the article below. It doesn’t specifically go into the details, but there is no mention of a club needing to approve a player accepting an offer from Japan. The players aren’t indentured servants, so there would have to be an agreement between MLB and Japan that the Japanese teams will respect MLB control. I’m not so sure there is.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120324&content_id=27583782&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

  11. ssckelley

    I would rather the Cubs went a different direction than Ian Stewart. He is neither a significant glove man or hitter. I would like to see if Vitters can win the job next spring and resign Valbuena as a back up he can also play other infield positions. I would not offer Stewart more than a minor league deal for him to rehab and see if he can play his way back on to the Cubs roster or someone elses.

  12. Jonski

    Brett do me a favor and remove me from your blog …Stay up your a good dude !

  13. Ben

    We Cubs fans are a passionate bunch. There are over 50 comments on Ian Stewart. Impressive.

    That being said, I wouldn’t mind seeing him back. Our starting offense is pretty much set next season (I’m assuming Soriano is not moved), so bringing back Stewart to platoon with Vitters is a solid move.

    I’m also hopeful that “credible” FA means Colby Lewis or Shaun Marcum. Wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of decent SP in our rotation. Other than our rotation, I don’t really see anywhere else to spend any money.

  14. Cubs1967

    stewart sucks. we passionate cubs fans need to expect better of the wonder boy team theo. if the a’s can be 10 games over .500 with a 50M payroll, the cubs with only 38M committed next year can do better than .190 stewart. pleeeeeeeeeaseeeeeeee.

  15. pfk

    Well its obvious that Jackson is out of the Pie/Patterson mold of centerfield prospects. He, like them, is a great athlete who just can’t hit a baseball at the MLB level. He’s lost at the plate and I don’t see him being able to adjust and improve much. Maybe a little but nowhere near what it will take to stay in the bigs.