Nine days left before the trade season pretty much shuts down for a couple months.
- As we get closer to the August 31 waiver trade deadline, the odds that the Cubs will be able to find that perfect fit deal for Alfonso Soriano are ever diminished. And a perfect fit is what it’s going to take for him to accept a deal, according to Soriano. ‘‘Only six weeks left. I don’t think so,’’ Soriano said of a trade this year. ‘‘It would have to be the perfect scenario. It would have to be a [near-certain] playoff team and be like the Giants, losing Melky [Cabrera to a 50-game drug suspension for a deal to come up]. A team would have to lose somebody important in their lineup to look for somebody.’’ Hey, wait! That DID happen! To the Giants! Remember? Ah … crud. Soriano already said no to that one.
- And, according to Nick Cafardo, the front office isn’t too thrilled about it. Specifically, Cafardo reports that “front office personnel are somewhat disappointed” that Soriano won’t accept a deal to the Giants. Shrug. I’m sure they are more than “somewhat” disappointed, but I doubt they’re, like, actively mad at Soriano. He’s wielding his rights, and he’s been pretty upfront about what he was willing to do (and not do).
- In the meantime, at least Soriano remains an extremely positive influence on Starlin Castro. Here are Soriano’s thoughts on Castro getting paaaaaid: “I just talked to him to love the game and work hard to get better, because money is good, but it doesn’t make you better. You have to keep working hard and get better every day. Always the money is there if you play hard and play good. I talked to him to keep doing what you’re doing, working hard and playing hard. Don’t worry about the money, because the money will come if you work hard and you’re a good player and if you believe in yourself. But you have to put the baseball first and the money second.” Sure, it’s a little easier to say that stuff when you’ve landed your $120+ million contract, but it’s still the right message.
- As for the other most-tradable Cub, Carlos Marmol, there has been a total lack of rumors out there featuring his name. And he’s plenty pleased about it. “That’s good,” Marmol said plainly to the Sun-Times. “I don’t want to go anywhere.” Nothing like being the closer on a team that gives you approximately three save opportunities in a month, right? Totally makes sense.
- Bruce Levine chatted this week and offered his thoughts: (1) Alfonso Soriano isn’t going to be traded before the end of August; (2) Dale Sveum is safe through next season; (3) folks believe Welington Castillo has the bat and the arm to be a long-term starter at catcher, but they question his “baseball IQ as a catcher”; (4) trading Brett Jackson for Carl Crawford and a bunch of cash is not rational; (5) Carlos Marmol could draw some trade interest in the offseason, but he makes a ton of money ($9.8 million in 2013) for what he is on a good team, which is a setup man; and (6) the Cubs will be looking for pitchers like Paul Maholm (one/two-year deal, not too expensive, hopefully tradable) in the offseason.
- The Brewers have released Randy Wolf, who just turned 36. The lefty has been solid for a decade, save for this season, when he was pretty terrible (73 ERA+, 4.74 FIP; though his K/BB was around his career mark, his BABIP was unusually high, his HR/9 was a bit up, and his LOB% was unusually low – all marks of a guy was a bit unlucky). Would the Cubs take a look on the thinking that they could see what he’s got left in the tank for a possible cheap-o deal in 2013? Given the expectation that the Cubs will not be “going for it” in 2013, and will be trying instead to snap up bounce-back candidates, I think I’d be in favor of trying to grab Wolf now. See how he looks, and see how open he is to sticking in Chicago for pennies. Who knows, though? Maybe he’s hoping a contender takes a chance on him (not bloody likely), or maybe he is adamant about going to free agency. I doubt anything happens here, but it’s interesting.