It’s the lull of the Spring Training rumor season – you see a bit at the front end, and then a fair bit at the back-end (mostly fringe roster guys), but very little in the middle.
- Dale Sveum admits that his players – notably Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol – will face trade rumors throughout the first half of the season, and might not even die down by the end of Spring Training. “I’m sure the trade rumors are going to continue whenever somebody gets injured in somebody else’s camp and they need that player, especially when it’s a big market,” Sveum said, per the Sun-Times. “So, yeah, you see all that kind of stuff continuing.” And Sveum has a fatalistic take on when and why those rumors pop up. “There’s no reason even dwelling on how and when [the rumors] would stop [because of a good or bad record],” Sveum said. “That’s just part of the media. It’s part of the job description, too. There’s people that are going to be labeled trade bait, or somebody wants them or they fit that role, so it’s just there. That’s what players have to deal with. That’s what organizations have to deal with when that kind of stuff comes up.’’ I think Dale just sanctioned all Obsessive Trade Watches. Cool.
- Speaking of Soriano, if David Ortiz continues to have trouble coming back from his Achilles problem, and isn’t ready for Opening Day, do the Red Sox inquire? I just don’t think these smaller injuries to bigger players (Granderson, Teixeira, Ortiz) are going to be enough to move the needle on a Soriano trade, unless the team already had interest, and has plans to use Soriano regularly after the injured player comes back. I doubt Soriano is dealt before Opening Day no matter how many injuries befall other teams. Cross your fingers for a good first half for Soriano.
- Speaking of the Yankees, they’ve gotten so desperate for a short-term solution that they reportedly asked Derrek Lee if he was interesting in coming out of retirement for a spell (the two sides are keeping in contact). They’re also in on semi-retired third baseman Scott Rolen (in whom the Cubs do not presently have interest, per Phil Rogers).
- Speaking Rogers, the Tigers are not currently in on Carlos Marmol, he says. That could change, however, as the Spring wears on. As with Soriano, I don’t expect Marmol to be moved until mid-season.
- It’s time to start familiarizing yourself with the next potential Daisuke/Darvish situation: 24-year-old Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka is currently wowing folks in the WBC after destroying the NPB over the past few years. He’s still three years away from free agency, but, if history is any guide, his team could look to get a huge posting fee for him after this season (that would allow them to try again the next year if they don’t get a satisfactory bid (though, arguably, the bids could be even lower the next year, if teams are willing to gamble on him reaching free agency)). If he’s as good as billed, and if he is posted after this season, you can guarantee the Cubs will be in the discussion. And it could be a very pricey discussion.