stoveIt’s not a particularly Hot Stove-y time of year, so I’m not even sure you can call it “lukewarm,” but it’s been a while since we checked in on the doings around the league, and there are quite a few bits that touch on the Cubs. And, hey, don’t forget: Marlon Byrd was traded on April 21 last year. It does happen.

  • The New York Mets were always among the teams listed as potential trade partners for the Cubs in an Alfonso Soriano deal this offseason, but that had more to do with their clear outfield need (speaking of Byrd, he’s currently the Mets’ right fielder) and Soriano’s presumed willingness to go to New York than it did with any specific rumors of interest. Well, turns out that the Mets did inquire about Soriano this Spring, according to Andy Martino. The inquiry was of the “checking in” variety, and sounds like it was part of the Mets’ due diligence as they investigated lots of options. A deal was probably unlikely at that time from both sides’ perspective (the Mets’ and Soriano’s, at least), but it’s a reminder that, if he has a decent, healthy first half, there will be interest in Soriano come July.
  • This will require more discussion down the road as the offseason approaches, but Paul Sullivan says there is “little doubt” that the Cubs will be interested in center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury if he doesn’t re-sign with the Red Sox at some point before reaching free agency after the season. Ellsbury is a tough nut to crack, intermittently looking like an MVP candidate and a very good fourth outfielder. Ellsbury, who turns 30 in September, will probably be on the Cubs’ radar even if Brett Jackson breaks out, given that the Cubs could have as many as three open outfield spots after this season.
  • The Cubs will probably see a couple familiar names on the waiver wire this week, with the Rangers designating lefty reliever Jeff Beliveau for assignment, and the Indians doing the same with Robert Whitenack. Each is a talented by flawed young arm, and ones the Cubs felt were worth risking. The Rangers gave Beliveau a long look, but had a crowded staff, making his presence on the 40-man superfluous when they went to pick up a catcher from the waiver wire (another former Cub, Robinson Chirinos). There was a great deal of hand-wringing (present company included) about the loss of Whitenack a week and a half ago, which came as the result of Darwin Barney’s knee injury, and the Cubs’ refusal to call up someone like Logan Watkins for a couple weeks in favor of Alberto Gonzalez, who wasn’t on the 40-man already. So, I was wrong, right? The Indians just dumped Whitenack, so clearly the Cubs were right to waive him. No. This is exactly what I said would happen: the Indians claimed Whitenack in the hopes that they could stash him for a week, let rosters¬†stabilize¬† and then slip him through waivers. Free pitching prospect. And it will probably work unless, for example, the Cubs do want him back and are ready to boot Gonzalez from the 40-man (Darwin Barney returns early next week), or if another team wants to try and play the same game. I suspect we won’t see either of Beliveau or Whitenack back with the Cubs.
  • Tim Dierkes chatted over at MLB Trade Rumors, and … (1) There’s only a 35% chance Robinson Cano reaches free agency at this point, though Tim doesn’t expect the Cubs to be in on him anyway; (2) Jacoby Ellsbury, on the other hand, probably will reach free agency; (3) Tim guesses that Jeff Samardzija would be looking to top Matt Harrison’s 5-year, $55 million deal in an extension with the Cubs (which is a comparison I’ve made before) – a few more starts like he’s had already this year, and he’ll get it, easy; and (4) the Cubs will probably focus on getting Matt Garza out there for a solid, healthy two months and then trade him (I think they’ll try one last time for an extension before committing to a trade).
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  • JP

    Brett, I’ve got nothing more on Stewart, his rehab, or return date. Do you. or can you find out anything?

    • Brett

      Still playing in extended Spring Training, two to three weeks out.

  • preacherman86

    I would have cautious speculation about Ellsbury. He just doesn’t seem like the type of guy the F.O . targets in free agency. An oft injured 30 year old who tempts and tantalizes but doesn’t live up to what he is going to get in FA, especially with a healthy year. If he were 27, then yeh, but he has Sizemore like downside that scares this F.O. and rightfully so. I also really don’t think they would give up much to acquire him in season as he could be a free agent anyway, why dump prospects in a less than world series-esque season.

    • FFP

      I don’t see Ellsbury here either. For the reasons you state, preacherman, and because I am not sure he’d be cool with a Theo-led organization. His injuries, botched diagnosis leading to botched re-hab, and the botched PR during re-hab all came under a Theo-led Sox organization.

      That said, if he did come here I would be happy. He moves brilliantly and beautifully on the base paths and (once he makes a read) in the field.

  • Jeff

    What’s wrong with the “COLD STOVE” ?

    • Brett

      Well now, that’s just too far.

    • Maximum Terror (aka: Carlos Marmol)

      “Room Temperature Stove” would be better…

      • Bilbo161

        Word fun? How about tepid?

        • ReiCow

          I approve of tepid stove.


    • Jarder

      Would “Body Temperature Stove” be too weird?

  • Al

    Either one of these guys potential makes more sense then lillibridge at this point.

  • Cerambam

    It’s interesting to see Robinson chirinos waved and picked up. Did he not live up to his potential? He was a big part of the garza trade iirc

    • Brett

      Eh, he was kind of a lesser part. He was always older, and was a converted catcher. A lot his numbers were hard to evaluate because of his age/level, and opinions on him varied wildly. The big pieces were always Archer and Lee.

      • Melrosepad

        Wasn’t he out all last year with injury too?

      • wvcubsfan

        Why you gotta short change Super Sam Fuld?

  • Melrosepad

    Brett, any chance we look at Julio Borbon? He is just 27 and has shown some upside. Personally wouldn’t mind seeing them pick up Beliveau and drop Takahashi. If we are going to possibly do poorly, might as well do it with younger guys who can impress and improve than older guys.

    • Brett

      Almost wrote about him, but it’s so tenuous. Hasn’t shown much in the last couple years, all things considered.

  • #23

    I was also wondering about Borbon as a pickup.

  • Chris

    Time to let go of Robert Whitenack…

  • JR

    I was against the Ellsbury signing, but on a 3 or 4 year deal maybe. I wouldn’t be upset with Jacoby at 4 for $50 Million or something close. He’s not durable at all, but all things considered he could be worth the risk.

  • Die hard

    Memo to Theo—Dodgers need starter

    • bbmoney

      They can always just put Capuano back in the rotation. Of course once Chad Billingsley’s elbow gives out in a month, then they really might need a starter.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      heh, yeah, because there is any team in baseball that comes close to the Dodgers depth in starting pitching. I mean, geez, they barely have enough starters to re-enact the Fellowship of the Ring now!

      • Die hard

        Must’ve hurt to squeeze that one out

        • DarthHater


  • Jp3

    Yeah maybe they can underwhelm us with another trade offer

  • Die hard

    With all the injuries around league like Geinke for 2-3 months and nobody wants Soriano Marmol Garza Stewart etc… not good

  • nkniacc13

    the dodgers also have Lilly whos about ready to be back with them