It’s crazy to think that we’re almost halfway through Spring Training and there are still free agent story lines … but before we get to those, about the Carlos Marmol report from last night …
- Gordon Wittenmyer emphatically disagrees with Bruce Levine that Carlos Marmol is going to be dealt any time soon. Wittenmyer tweets: “Nothing to reports of trade interest for Marmol, esp. w/ Detroit. Cubs don’t expect to move him till after season starts. Prob at deadline.” Paul Sullivan adds that the Cubs and Tigers have not discussed a Marmol deal.
- If Matt Garza were pitching healthily these days, news of an injury to top Rangers pitching prospect Martin Perez probably would have been met with considerably more interest (either on the buy or sell side). He was projected to be at the back of the Rangers’ rotation out of Spring Training this year, but, after fracturing a bone in his forearm, is going to be out for a couple months. That potentially leaves the Rangers scrambling for pitching … though obviously now it won’t be coming from the Cubs.
- Instead, it sounds like the Rangers may finally be willing to seriously pursue free agent Kyle Lohse – the still-unsigned 34-year-old starter with a draft pick compensation anchor tied around his neck. Jon Heyman reports that the Rangers’ interest in Lohse is indeed ticking up.
- The Cubs, too, have pitching injuries, so maybe they’ll take a look at Lohse now that Garza and Scott Baker are set to begin the year on the disabled list? Nah. Patrick Mooney, citing “industry sources,” says he’d dug into it, and the Cubs aren’t going to get in on Lohse now simply because of the injury issues. (After all, the Cubs knew there were injury risks with Garza and Baker from day one, which is why they also added Scott Feldman, Edwin Jackson, and Carlos Villanueva.) Signing Lohse would cost the Cubs a second round pick (and the associated pool money), so even if they were looking to sign and flip him, they’d have to cross their fingers that his contract year wasn’t an aberration, that he stays healthy and effective through June, and that they could net a better haul than a second round pick for him at the deadline. That seems like plenty of risk for a guy …
- … who is still reportedly seeking a three-year deal with a “big” annual salary. As it was with Michael Bourn, I’m sure the Cubs will consider signing Lohse if the price tag dropped so dramatically that they couldn’t help but grab that surplus value … but if he price tag drops that dramatically, virtually every team in baseball would be interested. And he’d have far better options than the Cubs, I’m afraid to say.
- There’s no update on the status of Cuban defector Aledmys Diaz, per Ben Badler. The Cubs are reportedly interested in the young shortstop, but his process is being held up by age-related concerns.
- Carlos Zambrano is still jobless, but he’s pitching for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, hoping that is a springboard to a big league deal. I dont’ really see it happening, even if he goes all out on becoming a reliever. Even then, he might just be cooked.