The 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.