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stoveThe latest from the rumor mill …

  • The Red Sox have decided (probably) to cut ties with swing starter/reliever Alfredo Aceves after a poor start to the 2013 season (and some off-the-field stuff in months past). He’s 30 and makes $2.6 million this year, his second-to-last arbitration year, and is really scuffling. So, the Red Sox have informed him that they intend to demote him to AAA, and he’s got a couple days to report to Pawtucket if he wants to keep his contract. In the interim, the Red Sox will try to trade Aceves, per Nick Cafardo. Thanks to his down stock and the Red Sox connection, you’d have to think the Cubs would kick the tires. Sure, Aceves has been a headache off the field, and he’s had a very down year and a half, but he could come on the cheap (as in, probably just for a small amount of salary relief), and the Cubs would be happy to add another reliever to the mix (why the hell not?). Aceves is also the kind of guy who, in the right setting, could recover value, and possibly even become a flippable asset,* if not this year, then possibly next year (assuming he’s worth tendering a contract at that point). Prior to 2012, he looked like a great reliever/swing-man, but the question is whether he’s worth the trouble. Jon Heyman discusses the latter question at length, and concludes that he’s really not, at least not on a team like the Red Sox. And a GM tells Heyman that Aceves’ trade value is zero. It’s an interesting story, and could see the Cubs involved. Kevin Gregg just got a save for the Cubs, for crying out loud. They can’t afford to turn a blind eye to *any* bullpen options out there.
  • *Not that he’d return much in trade, even if he was dominating at the time. Let’s just be clear on that.
  • Paul Sullivan writes about the likely impending sell-off for the Cubs, in the face of a terrible start to the season. Darwin Barney shares his thoughts on what it’s like not to be mentioned as part of the “core” with a trade season looming. Barney’s value has always been tricky to define, given the huge glove and light bat, but it will be very interesting to see how frequently he pops up in trade rumors this offseason. In theory – and only in theory – the Cubs could have as many as six legitimate second base options emerging at or near the AAA level within the next year (Logan Watkins, Christian Villanueva, Roni Torreyes, Arismendy Alcantara, Stephen Bruno, and … Javier Baez). It’s a position at which they could probably afford to shop Barney around, especially if there are teams out there who view him as a quality defensive shortstop, where he could provide quite a bit more value.
  • Bruce Levine chatted at ESPN Chicago, and … (1) a package for Giancarlo Stanton would start with Javier Baez and would take quite a bit more, but that doesn’t make sense for the Cubs’ model (I disagree, in general, even if it might agree with respect to certain packages. In general, I can see the Cubs parting with a package to get a young, controllable superstar – that’s very much in line with their model/plan. Bruce later seems to concede this in acknowledging that the Cubs could go after David Price); (2) Bruce believes Carlos Marmol will be the closer again with a week or 10 days; and (3) Bruce anticipates that David DeJesus will be traded at some point, but not until much later in the season.
  • Tim Dierkes did the chat thing at MLBTR, and … (1) Nate Schierholtz is in the (very early) running for best signing of the offseason; (2) Luis Valbuena might be the worst regular in all of baseball (which is a very odd comment from Tim, a latest Cubs fan … Valbuena has been quite good this year, relatively speaking; he’s not a guy you want starting long term, but I could find many, many far worse regulars if I dug around); (3) if the 2014 outlook doesn’t look good, the Cubs may be wise to entertain offers on Jeff Samardzija this Summer (to which I’d say, sure, always listen – but if Samardzija is giving you signals that he’ll sign a long-term extension (they have him for two more years, as it is), there’s no rush to trade him right now); and (4) we can’t really speculate on Matt Garza/Rangers trades until we see how healthy he, Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison are.
  • Rich G

    If the 2014 outlook doesn’t look good? I’m glad the Cubs have Theo/Jed, but was ‘the plan’ really to be horrible for 3(!) years? That’s pretty disheartening considering there’s certainly no guarantee doing it this way will work and thus 2015+ might be bad too. Of course, there are no guarantees in baseball anyway…

    • adam

      What exactly did the new management inherit from old management that they could work with going into the future?

      • Kyle

        Starlin Castro, Andrew Cashner, Sean Marshall, Darwin Barney, Welington Castillo, Jeff Samardzija, Javier Baez, Dan Vogelbach, etc.

        • X The Cubs Fan

          Agreed

        • X The Cubs Fan

          Logan Watkins, Brett Jackson, Matt Sczur, Josh Vitters, Junior Lake, Reggie Golden.

          • Kyle

            Maples, Alcantara, Candelario

        • YourResidentJag

          Looks like you may want to add Rock Shoulders to that list as well.

  • Rebuilding

    Fantastic article on Soriano’s at bat against Broxton yesterday: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/alfonso-soriano-and-the-antithesis-of-situational-hitting/

    • Koyie Hill Sucks

      Like I said, bad move by Sveum to go with Soriano on that at bat…

      • Rebuilding

        Shhhhh! You’re going to bring out (1) those who defend Sveum no matter what even though, as the article points out, he had a full bench and/or (2) those who say quit complaining about managerial decisions because we suck anyway

        • Still Love the Cubs

          I know I defend Ricketts/Theo/Jed but I do not agree with Sveum’s decision yesterday on Soriano. Need contact there. Should have been Barney for sure.

        • Edwin

          Nice false choice.

      • Rebuilding

        Take names and salaries out of it: 8th inning, 2nd and 3rd, 1 out, infield back playing for the out. You have 2 guys to choose from: Do you choose the high strikeout, high power guy or the high contact, low power guy? It seems simple to me. If we were in the 9th with no one on and he put Barney in ahead of Soriano I would be just as mad because in that situation we need a homerun

        • Edwin

          I’d still take Soriano. Soriano is more likely to get a hit than Barney, and more likely to draw a walk, which is better than nothing. The value of a hit, which probably brings in 2 runs, is pretty valuable in that spot.

          I just don’t think the difference between Barney and Soriano’s K rate is enough to overcome the fact that Soriano gives you a better chance to win the game.

          • Rebuilding

            You didn’t need a hit or a walk, you needed a ground ball, which takes contact

            • jt

              Tie game with Marmol not available. Russell, then Camp, then Gregg?
              Eh, donno?…. maybe they could have used a blast or at least a knock.

            • Edwin

              You needed a ground ball or a deep fly to tie the game. A hit also ties the game, probably gives you lead, and does not cost an out. Soriano strikes out in about 20% of his PA, Barney strikes out in about 10% of his. That’s one less strikeout every ten PA.

              I think Barney might give the team a better chance to tie, but I think Soriano gives the team a better chance to win.

    • Edwin

      It’s an ok article, but I don’t know how much it really tells us. We already know that Soriano doesn’t draw many walks, and strikes out at an above average clip. It was a terrible at bat by Soriano, but those happen.

  • JON

    I would give Baez for Stanton in a heartbeat and wouldn’t even bat an eye

    • forlines

      I think most anyone in their right mind would, but we’d have to part with a lot more than just baez.

    • Andy

      It would be Baex, et al. It’s the et al part of that which makes the deal interesting.

    • On the Farm

      So you would trade a guy who hasn’t hit above A+ for an established major league power threat? Really? And you wouldn’t even bat an eye?

      Please call the offices of Theo and Jed and tell them that your wonderful ideas and how you are clearly going to be an asset for our front office for the foreseeable future!

      • Dave

        Aren’t the Cubs trying to acquire players like Samardzija?
        At some point you have to start getting the players in place who you hope are going to be part of a winning team .
        Fans will be patient but a never ending rebuild will not fly with most

    • macpete22

      I’d much rather trade Baez for Price than Stanton

  • Patrick G

    Luis Valbuena already having a better season that Mike Moustakis. Yes it is still early but when saying he’s the worst regular thats pretty rough

    • jt

      2nd half of 2012 was not good for Luis. Not sure that is the batter we are seeing this year.

  • terencemann

    Valbuena might be in the running but there are players far worse than him. His glove alone brings his value over replacement level and he should be entering his best years as a player so it’s not unthinkable to think that he could be a slightly better hitter over the next couple seasons. I don’t want to see him as the full-time starter and hope the Cubs find a better option but he could be a lot worse.

  • On the Farm

    It’s too bad the Cubs are already maxed on payroll and won’t be even able to provide salary relief to the Red Sox for AA.

    On the flip side so far the former Sox organization guys are working out. Rizzo is one of our cornerstone players. And Bowden has done very well for himself out of the pen the second half of last season and had a pretty good April. I am sort of seeing similarities between AA and Bowden in which a change of scenery is what they need to be successful, but the reasons for the change of scenery is different.

  • Ed

    Really Brett, white sox advertisements?

    • bbmoney

      I think it’s been discussed why this happens.

      Apparently you’ve been visiting White sox sites. For shame ;)

  • Jay

    First Garza, now Smardj. I don’t understand the thinking. You build around pitching, especially starting pitching. Edwin Jacksons you can find every year but pitchers with the stuff and low mileage on his arm like the Shark don’t come along every day and smart clubs make sure they never hit the market (see Clayton Kershaw sometime soon and Felix Hernandez). At some point it’s not worth continuing to stockpile prospects if you have to part with arguably your best player unless you don’t plan on contending until long after his prime.

    • Cyranojoe

      No no no, you listen. If you can rip somebody off obscenely on a trade for Shark, you do so. It would have to be pretty obscene to replace a rather good #2 arm, team leader, etc, but you don’t turn anything down without consideration. Pretty sure that’s what Brett means.

  • baseballet

    In addition to showing he can be a good starter who can dominate on occasion, Shark is also emerging as a team leader. The Cubs should lock him up long term.

  • Rebuilding

    I don’t believe for a minute that Samardzija is going anywhere. He’s got truly ace potential that even at his age he is just beginning to harness. The only way I think it’s conceivable is if he is asking for Kershaw, Grienke type money and maybe not even then.

    If I was the Marlins I would start with Soler, Almora and Vogelbach to even have the discussion. Honestly, they probably would want pitching we just don’t have.

    The comment on Valbuena is just dumb and lazy. Jeff Francour, Brendan Ryan, 2/3 of the Mets outfield, etc. say hello

    • Jonathan

      Samardjiza for Bundy from Baltimore. Straight up. I’d do it. He’s younger, cheaper for the next three years and similar stuff. I would hate to do it cause it means we won’t be competitive for a few years, but I’d do it.

  • Bob Johnson

    I like Valbuena. He’s done everything asked of him over the last two seasons. I haven’t seen any recent Cub Third Basemen do any better including Stewert.

    • Matty Ice

      What do you mean by recent? One and a half years? Because there was this guy Aramis Ramirez who was decent

      • Eternal Pessimist

        Ramirez was great, including in clutch situations…except in the two playoff years.

  • Spoda17

    Garza will not pitch until after the all star break… I’m calling it now… I may like him as a person, but this has been a train wreck…

  • FFP

    Aceves is Big Z Lite.
    Seriously, I kinda like him. He only needs to borrow someone’s (a manager’s?) internal executive function. Last year he didn’t actually have one, and this year Sox need to keep making examples of folks to re-norm the culture on the team.

    • jt

      I wonder if you can “deek” an internal executive function”? lol

      • FFP

        larf

  • PKJ

    Barney seems like someone you wouldn’t necessarily want to build a franchise around, but would be a “cheap” someone they would want to anchor their infield defense for years. Is the thought that the bat won’t even come around? Are any of those second base names you mentioned MLB ready?

    I just checked Baseball Reference and he had a bWAR of 4.8?!? His Fangraphs WAR was only 2.4, but according to even Fangraphs, that makes him the 13th best 2B in all of baseball in 2012. To me, that’s better than average…

    Maybe they have their sights set on going after Cano or something?

  • Saving grace

    I live in Boston.
    Aceves is a real tool.
    Yesterday he had maybe the worst inning ever for a pitcher.
    Totally got shelled and lasted 3 innings.
    After the game he proceeded to blame the weather,the umpires and his team for not hitting.

    In Cleveland after the terrorist attack they held a team dinner to discuss what the team could/would do for the city of Boston and came up with some great things including the Boston Strong jersey.
    Well Aceves was the only player not to attend.
    Last year he was totally out of control during the Valentine disaster and they thought a new environment would change him.
    His his clubhouse poison which is why the Yankees got rid of him after some great years there.
    Talented when he chooses to pitch and a long relief/late inning/spot starter ability makes him a bull pen gem with such versatility.
    But is he worth the headaches when every team has shown him the door .

    I think he has options left to so the Sox cut him it’s just to get rid of poison of a very great clubhouse/chemistry team

    • FFP

      Hey, Saving grace. ::looking East a few miles down the road and waving::
      I haven’t followed the Sox closely for a while, but this really sounds right for Aceves. My only concern at the moment is can he still throw? ‘Cause he could.
      If managed better than he was (he wasn’t) last year could he be of value on the field?
      Off the field God should bless Aceves and keep him–
      very far from anyone I love.

    • jt

      I live a couple of miles from the N. S. shopping Mall.

  • Michael Caldwell

    Samardzija has a NTC in his contract. He isn’t going anywhere unless he wants to.

    • Cyranojoe

      Ah! If that’s the case, he’s going nowhere. He clearly wants to be the guy who leads the Cubs to the W.S., and I don’t blame him.

  • TJ

    Have there been any updates on Vitters or Concepcion? When will we see them in a line up?

  • Dustin S

    While Stanton is a perfect fit for the Cubs, the packages I’ve seen around the league being discussed are borderline insane. Supposedly his trade value is above David Price’s right now as far as teams wanting him. A deal with Detroit was talking Smyly, Castellanos, and at least one of their other top of the line prospects. Some of the packages from the other teams are looking even bigger. I hate to think what package the Cubs would have to put together.. It wouldn’t be just Baez or Almora and a couple B or C prospects. I wouldn’t be surprised if it would need to be something like Rizzo, Baez, and Vogelbach to even get in the running. It’s tempting as bad as this team has been, but buying that high on Stanton seems like a bad idea.

    I am starting to wonder what other lesser names that might be a lot better values will start popping up from teams that are not doing well. Philadelphia, the Angels, maybe the Padres. Even Cleveland or the White Sox.

  • Andrew

    Anyone that thinks values is the worst regular this year should be immediately directed to Adam Dunns baseball reference page. NEGATIVE 1.0 war in only nineteen games. On pace to somehow be worse than he was in 2011.

  • Andrew

    Anyone that thinks values is the worst regular this year should be immediately directed to Adam Dunns baseball reference page. NEGATIVE 1.0 war in only nineteen games. On pace to somehow be worse than he was in 2011.

    • Internet Random

      Anything worth saying is worth saying twice.

  • jkd

    how is valbuena worse then Adam Dunn?

  • DarthHater

    Get Aceves and make him Soler’s anger management mentor. :-P

  • BWA

    Random Comment, But Campana is hitting like .150 in AAA. Good trade.

  • Die hard

    Report back in 6 weeks when he’s hitting .285 and has 25 SB

  • Die hard

    Yea but Jackson needs 2 good outings so Dodgers will call

  • TommyK

    Trade Samardzija I thought the plan was to develop young players while maintaining a salary structure to keep those players long term. Are they just developing young players so they can trade them for more young players to develop? We are a large market team that should not be trading productive young players because we can’t afford to sign them long term. I was as on board as anyone with Theo and co., but if they trade Samardzija I’m done.

    • Kyle

      Samardzija is not that young.

      • TommyK

        He’s 28 and entering his prime. My point is a major market team should not be trading our good players when they hit their prime. The advantage of being a large market team is we get to keep our good players when they work out.

  • TommyK

    Also, Rizzo is scaring the hell out of me. If he’s a bust we’re in huge trouble.

    • Alex S

      I might be projecting, but he’s looked incredibly frustrated tonight (striking out three times will do that to you, but he seemed frustrated early on)

    • Can’t think of a cool name

      As is Castro to me. I’m a huge Castro fan but he does not seem to be getting better. I’m worried his ceiling is Alexi Ramirez with a little better batting average. Maybe its just the crappy year the Cubs are having.

      • Die hard

        His game is Punch and Judy which would be ok if he stole 100 bases walked twice a game scored 125 runs and was a gold glover–he’s not the QB of the infield like he should be and he’s not a home run hitter at SS but could be in CF without pressure of IF — so he’s in no mans land and that’s why he’s frustrated…speaking of QB Bears could have shot at Geno who could give Cutler a run

  • Die hard

    Want to shake things up? Yankees need a SS— how much would they give for Castro who will never be a fan favorite in Chicago given lackadaisical attitude

  • Die hard

    If Bears take Manti Teo LB from ND I will sell my season tkts

  • Kyle

    I’ve been pretty down on Logan Watkins compared to many fans, but I really wouldn’t hate it if they got a good offer for Barney and gave Watkins his shot in 2014. But it better be something legitimately worthwhile for Barney.

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