No Bullets today, partly because there are few news items this morning, and partly because I’m going to The Game today (OSU/Michigan). If you don’t hear from me again, it’s because I was brash and decided to wear my Michigan garb to Ohio Stadium. In lieu of Bullets, please accept a tasty slice of the Lukewarm Stove …

  • Christina Kahrl suggests a trade the Red Sox should consider: “Trade to get Alfonso Soriano’s next two seasons and the last year that Matt Garza is under club control, sending Chicago a package of [Ryan] Kalish[Jarrod] Saltalamacchia and minor-league prospects Alex Wilson and Matt Barnes.” Well, I suppose I agree that the Red Sox should consider that one, but should the Cubs? Setting aside the fact that, after the Dioner Navarro signing, the Cubs don’t really have a spot for Salty, unless they’re going to trade Welington Castillo, I’m just not sure about that deal for the Cubs. On the one hand, the implication is that the Red Sox are taking on all or most of Soriano’s salary, which is certainly valuable. And Barnes is a legitimately interesting prospect. But Wilson is a 26-year-old relief prospect coming off a down year at AAA, and Kalish is a fringy young outfielder whom I wouldn’t take in center field over Brett Jackson. So, no, I don’t think I’d be on board for that deal because I don’t see a whole lot of value for the Cubs … but that doesn’t mean I think the Cubs could get more for Soriano and Garza right now. Soriano’s value in that deal is depressed by the Sawx taking on his contract (something I’d hope the Cubs would avoid, in favor of a better prospect return), and Garza’s value is depressed by the last vision of him on the mound being one where he’s grabbing for his elbow. Hopefully the Cubs won’t sell low on him.
  • The Yankees re-signed Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $15 million deal earlier this week (despite him reportedly having better offers from other teams), which does not impact the Cubs directly – obviously they weren’t in on Kuroda, and his free agent value was really wonky, given his desire for a short-term deal and possibility of heading back to Japan. But the signing does have a modest impact on the Cubs’ offseason efforts: namely, it reduces the Yankees’ free agent pitching desires by way of a guy who was never coming to the Cubs. That is to say, had Kuroda decided to go back to Japan, the Cubs and Yanks may suddenly have been going head-to-head for a free agent pitcher or two (depending on the Yankees’ backup plans). Now, that almost certainly won’t happen.

  • Further, if the Yanks bring back Andy Pettitte, too, as they want to do, it might make Phil Hughes expendable – while he isn’t as desirable as he may have been a couple years ago, he’s still an intriguing, young, upside starter in the Rick Porcello vein.
  • MLBTR compares two of the Cubs’ possible free agent targets: Francisco Liriano and Brandon McCarthy. The surprise is not that McCarthy is viewed more favorably (except by Tim Dierkes, who actually ranked Liriano the more attractive free agent when considering health), it’s that it isn’t a blowout. For me, it’s McCarthy, and it isn’t close. I’ll take the injury risk in exchange for the much more reliably solid performance. (Assuming the contracts were similar, I mean … which I don’t think they will be. So, if Liriano gets 1/$5M and McCarthy gets 2/$25M, well, then I could be more open to Liriano.)
  • The Royals are open to moving uber-prospect Wil Myers for a front-line starting pitcher, but, no, I don’t think Matt Garza is the guy (injury concern, one year of control, etc.). I also don’t think Jeff Samardzija is the guy, but I wouldn’t be totally crazy about making that swap anyway. To paraphrase Jed Hoyer: the Cubs need more Jeff Samardzija’s, not fewer Jeff Samardzija’s.

  • After picking up Ryan Wheeler from the D-backs, the Rockies could be looking to deal Wheeler – a third base prospect in whom the Cubs reportedly had interest last year – or another third baseman (Nolan Arenado?). Seems like a lot of speculation, but it was worth a mention. So I mentioned.
  • Zack Greinke is believed to be looking for a six-year deal, which, like, dude … ask for more.

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