stoveIt’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.
  • Ben (BG2383)

    I am definitely in the minority and probably will get flamed for saying that I would love to give Zambrano a minor league deal. There is pretty much no risk involved and he could be cut at any time. Zambrano would be an interesting person to watch in the middle innings and this is a good year to take that kind of chance (in my opinion).

    Disclosure: I never could come to grips with him starting to suck, and he was my favorite pitcher on Cubs for multiple years.

    • Matt

      Hey, at least you were upfront with your disclosure.

    • Edwin

      I wouldn’t avoid signing him for “clubhouse” or other issues, but at this point he doesn’t seem to be a talented enough pitcher to warrant a roster spot. He’s been battling injuries and declining velocity for the past couple years.

      The risk is that you give him a minor league spot at the cost to the development of other prospects with minimal upside. At best he would provide middle relief, which is something the Cubs could get elsewhere with less risk/money spent.

      • Ben (BG2383)

        I agree with your point about middle relief being easier to find elsewhere, but disagree that it would hamper the development of another prospect. I guess when I suggested the signing it was almost me thinking out loud :)

        • Edwin

          Sure. I guess the prospect thing is a pretty weak arguement. I just think there would be such low upside that even with it being a “low risk” signing, it might not be worth it.

    • WGNstatic

      In theory, I don’t mind the idea of signing a guy like Carlos Zambrano, but I have a hard time seeing how it would be a comfortable situation with the Cubs. A similar story could be told for Prior.

      The reality is that these guys were “big time” guys with the Cubs, it would be hard to come back to the same team in such a diminished role with all the history there. That said, if there were a Zambrano like player who had previously played somewhere besides the north side of Chicago, I would be all for giving them a shot (e.g. Dontrelle Willis)

    • Jono

      You almost gave me mouth-diarrhea

    • X The Cubs Fan

      He won’t take a ml deal.

  • Jonathan

    I love the idea of a player lying about his age to make himself older.

  • oswgo chris

    I would love for Zanbrano to pitch for Venezuela in WBC…especially against the U.S.

  • justinjabs

    Uhhh, wasn’t Z retiring after 2012?

    • Bigg J

      No one retires if money is thrown their way

  • Red Baron 42

    First time poster here…congrats on what looks like a great site Brett..much better than the SB Nation site that shall not be named. :)

    Carlos Zambrano has not been seen since Hugo Chavez died..just saying..

    • cubzfan

      Obviously because he’s next in line for the presidency. Viva Carlos!

      • Barbara Berg

        Funny…someone said Chavez had actually been dead for a week, and someone replied that they must have been looking for a stand in. I immediately thought of Zambrano, as they looked related.

  • JR

    I know Garza is banged up still, but the Rangers could trade for him and sign Lohse. Garza is bound to be healthy at some pt. right? They could virtually replace the pick they lose for Lohse with Garza’s Compensation pick next year. Seems like a good idea to me if the Rangers are serious about winning this year.

    • Bigg J

      Since Garza has been hurt, he hasn’t been able to show he is healthy. The Rangers would not give up a good prospect as he hasn’t pitched since last year. The Cubs would have to be blown away to pull the trigger as no one is going to give up much not knowing when Garza will be healthy again. His value is way down right now because he keeps getting hurt.

      • JR

        Yes I understand that Garza’s value sucks now. That is very obvious. But, they still have the qualifying offer and be able to get Garza MUCH cheaper than they would have otherwise. The Cubs need to be reasonable too. Garza’s value will not be close to where it was last year.

      • Bigg J

        Well the Rangers are looking for pitching that can help them right away. Garza is potentially going to miss the 1st month of the season, so what would be the rush to grab him now when he will be on DL right away?

        • JR

          The qualifying offer is the main reason to get him now. Which would allow them to get a pick or kill his free agent value holding that compensation pick over Garza’s head, or to sign him to a cheaper longterm contract because of the pick. Still don’t understand why Garza went from missing a week to 2 freaking months. That’s some bullshit, and something seems way off.

  • JR

    I would love to see a deal with the Rangers and Cubs involving Perez and Garza. Two gimps being dealt with benefits to both teams. Obviously, when Garza is back he should give the Rangers a much better shot than Perez and they can hold the qualifying over him to re-sign him cheap. Perez would be a great young arm for the Cubs. Seems like a win win in my book.

    • hansman1982

      the Cubs would be idiots to do that. Right now Garza has 0 trade value. If he can come back and be a good, durable pitcher for May and June then we can get something out of him in July.

      If he doesn’t then we can all just get pissy about the fact that we were talking about Turner and Castellanos and some before last season.

      • Edwin

        Eh. Perez seems close to what Garza is worth right now, considering he’s still recovering. I think Perez is ranked 83 on baseball America’s top 100 for 2013.

        I’d guess that Garza’s value, if he’s healthy at the trade deadline, will be similar or slightly higher than what Dempster’s was last year.

      • JR

        Why would the Cubs be idiots to do a Garza for Perez swap? Do we really think that Garza is going to get much more than Perez at the deadline? And if Perez wasn’t hurt I am sure the Rangers wouldn’t do it. But since the Cubs want to be one of the worst 10 teams this year him being hurt doesn’t matter. I think it’s a fair deal all around.

        • brickhouse

          If you believe Dave Kaplan the Cubs had a deal in place for Perez, Olt and a prospect for Garza last season

          • Edwin

            I don’t believe Dave Kaplan.

            I’d say if people want a ceiling for what Garza could be worth this trade deadline, just look at the Zach Grienke deal from last year. Garza is obviously much less valuable than Greinke, so take whatever the Brewers got for Grienke (Jean Segura) and scale expectations down from that.

            • Lou

              I’d say your absolutely on point with your argument. I don’t think for a second the Rangers have any desire to give up a package of highly valued prospects. Would I go for Perez/Garza swap? Sure. But to think, with a changing of the guard at the top of their organization (from Nolan Ryan as team president to Jon Daniels), one has to consider how much of a change in philosophy is going within that organization. Couple that with an offseason that involved more misses than hits for the Rangers, and one could plausibly believe that the organization is getting by on the backside of playoff contending teams. The team is essentially biding its time and waiting to see what the prospects can do in the bigs. So, IMO this means that if the Rangers are to be competitive going forward is because of, not in spite of, guys Olt, Profar, Moreland, etc, showing their abilities to perform in the majors.

              • Lou

                Sorry you’re not your.

        • Lou

          Because Theo supporters like to create a false value for Garza’s worth. Go on any non-Cubs website or read any other scout of any other teams analysis. You’ll see the discrepancy between what the Cubs (and the fan base) think he’s worth and what other teams understand of his value.

          • DarthHater

            What does it have to do with “Theo supporters”? I see lots of Cubs fans on this site with absurdly inflated opinions of Cubs trading possibilities who aren’t Theo supporters. Half the time, they’re grumbling at Theo for not making their pipe dream trades a reality.

  • chuyz

    Zambrano no better than a prospect..give a one yr minor league deal..or spilt contract…we got momey to burn.anyways..flip him at the sp n bullpen help.

  • The Brian Roberts Trade

    I want Carlos Zambrano as far away from the Cubs clubhouse as possible, far away like Venezuela.

  • Die hard

    Cubs need 2 more quality starters ASAP or look for a 30 – 50 All Star break record

    • Drew7

      That shouldn’t be a big deal, since those are a dime-a-dozen 2 weeks before Opening Day and all.

      • TWC

        Remember this time last year when Die hard claimed that the Cubs wouldn’t have 40 wins in 2012?

        • DarthHater

          Not really. Cry hard’s jeremiads all seem to blur together after a while…

          • TWC


            I write them all down in this little notebook I keep right here, close to my heart.

            • DarthHater

              I can think of several better places to put it.

  • Die hard

    With Yanks Texiera out til after All Star break at least gotta think Soris looking better to them

    • Drew7

      I wish I lived in Diehardland, where July is only 8-10 weeks away.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        … and Eisenhower is still president…..


        • DarthHater

          Commie. 😛

  • Die hard

    Wrist injuries take longer than that even tho Yanks want u to believe that’s all so as to have teams believe not desperate ….. But they are hurting

  • Bilbo161

    Just say no to Z. He is too out of control. It’s one thing to get upset and blow off some steam once in a while, but I expect controlled aggression not flipping out. He is no longer good enough to put up with any of that crap. If he’s a “changed” man? Fine, let some other team be the stupid ones.

    • Edwin

      He’s just an excitable boy.

      • DarthHater

        Well, he went down to the dugout in his gabardines
        Excitable boy, they all said
        And he smashed the gatorade cooler into smithereens
        Excitable boy, they all said…

        • TWC

          Well, I can certainly see Zambrano rubbing a pot roast all over his chest.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Let’s not touch the prom date, though.

            • Bric

              You can touch her… but please don’t build a cage out of her bones. This isn’t Walking Dead you know.

  • Glen

    Big Z was a BEAST back when PEDs were running rampant……..coincidence??? You tell me……..

  • Die hard

    Zambrano could help Blue Jays whose closer may be out

  • Bob Johnson

    No on Zambrano, keep Marmol for now, disappointed in Garza,keep looking for a good third baseman.

  • Die hard

    Soriano and Lake for Cano

  • Bigg J

    So could the Yanks pull off a Soriano and Marmol trade now that Rivera is retiring? They can give up their good prospects for those 2

  • Bigg J

    Just trade question, but what are the chances the Cubs grab Headley as there’s all these rumors of him on trade block?

    • cedlandrum

      I guess there is some chance, but the price is supossed to be pretty high and I don’t think they liked the price last year. I think the price has probably gone up some since then.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        By more than one account, the Padres told multiple teams last winter and last July that they were planning to build around Headley. That made the price “not for sale.” It probably has just come down substantially to “very high.” Of course, it’s possible that Headley’s extremely good 2012 season made the Pads realize that they would not be able to afford Headley.

    • Bigg J

      Yea I knew it was high last year, but they don’t want him to walk without getting anything either and right now it sounds like he will(but still early).