stoveIt’s late April and the Cubs are already struggling. With a “le sigh,” the Lukewarm Stove might be more active earlier than expected.

  • An anonymous general manager, as well as other executives, have some interesting advice for Matt Garza, by way of Buster Olney: sign early. If Garza comes back and pitches well, whether he’s traded or not, the executives think Garza falls into the Kyle Lohse range of pitcher who could really be hurt by waiting too long to sign. “Once you start getting closer to spring training, I think a lot of teams have spent what they want to spend and start getting more comfortable with what they have,” said a GM to Olney. If Garza heeds this advice, it could be good for the Cubs if they want to extend him. After all, what’s the best way to make sure you get paid as early as possible? Well, it’s by signing an extension with your current team, and never facing the uncertain prospect of a draft-pick-tainted market in the first place. Of course, as always, that’s all predicated on a healthy, effective Garza whom the Cubs didn’t trade at the deadline. And, all things considered, if Garza is healthy and effective come July, I think the Cubs will trade him unless he’s ready to sign a team-friendly extension then and there.
  • Rays beat writer Marc Topkin took on Buster Olney’s recent prediction, based on industry conversations, that the Rays would trade David Price at some point this year (during or after the season), and that the leading suitors for Price would be the Cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals, and Rangers. Topkin says he could see the others, but wouldn’t have the Red Sox on the list, believing that the Rays would demand a huge premium to deal Price within the division. So, with the Red Sox out, that means the Cubs become the prohibitive favorite, right?


  • The Cubs have signed journeyman catcher Jose Morales to a minor league deal. As far as upper-level minor league depth catching options go, the Cubs could do a lot worse than Morales. I’m guessing that the Steve Clevenger injury precipitated the signing.
  • A long take on the oft-discussed Jurickson Profar for Oscar Taveras uber prospect swap that everyone seems to want the Rangers and Cardinals to do … except the Rangers and Cardinals. The two sides haven’t even discussed a deal like that, according to Derrick Goold. Each side seems to perceive too much risk in making the swap and being wrong, even if each side could really stand to have the other side’s player. As a Cubs fan, I really can’t say which uber prospect I’d rather the Cardinals had. Taveras looks like an absolute monster, but Profar fills a desperate organizational need.
  • MLBTradeRumors with a very interesting take on the waiver rules, and how some teams are exploiting them to the detriment of those borderline players. The Cubs don’t come in for specific wrist-slapping, but you could argue that their very regular use of the waiver wire in the attempt to find stash candidates isn’t in the spirit of the waiver process (which is supposed to find borderline players a big league home, rather than burying them at AAA). That said, until/unless the system changes, I’m not going to criticize the Cubs for trying to improve the organization at the margins within the rules.


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