With one trade already completed, the rumor season is rolling …
- Jon Heyman takes an early look at the pitching trade market this year, and in his list of the top 21 starters most likely to be traded, you’ll find five Cubs: Scott Feldman (3), Matt Garza (4), Travis Wood (5), Carlos Villanueva (8), and Edwin Jackson (20). You can toss out Jackson, as he just signed a four-year deal, and the Cubs aren’t going to pull a Marlins by dumping him immediately (he doesn’t have much trade value right now anyway). Travis Wood should probably be much lower on the list, given that he’s not even in arbitration yet, and the Cubs are easily as likely to keep him as to deal him. The other three, though, are very much likely trade candidates. The good news is that, in terms of the guys likely to be shopped, it looks like an extremely weak trade market. That’s good for a seller like the Cubs, whose primary trade value is on the pitching side.
- It’s early, and I wouldn’t necessarily point to his results as a reason to start pulling back on the David Price trade interest, but I would point to his strikingly reduced velocity this year. Check out this chart from FanGraphs to see the early-season drop. It’s going to be a story to watch this year.
- Kevin Gregg as a flippable asset? Patrick Mooney discusses the unthinkable here. Even if Gregg is lights out from here through July, he isn’t going to net a ton in trade. Maybe he could do well as part of a package, but, alone, because of the track record and the rental, he’s just not going to get you more than a C prospect. (Which is not to say it wouldn’t still be worth pulling the trigger, all things considered.)
- Gordon Wittenmyer says the Cubs “appear to be trying” to trade Ian Stewart, who is currently riding the bench at AAA Iowa. If the Cubs do manage to move him, it won’t be for any kind of substantive return (they waived him and a team could have had him for nothing, except for assuming his contract). Instead, the Cubs would likely just be trying to save a few bucks.
- An interesting new minor league free agent is available: 26-year-old lefty Jordan Norberto. He was great for Oakland last year, but suffered an elbow strain this year, the A’s apparently couldn’t wait on his 40-man spot. He’ll sign somewhere, but probably won’t contribute for a while as he recovers from the injury. Sure seems like the kind of guy the Cubs take flyers on.
- MLBTR lists the possible reliever trade candidates out there, and says it’s James Russell, Kevin Gregg, and Carlos Marmol for the Cubs. That sounds about right – the first two might have some value, and obviously the Cubs are looking to move Marmol. I’d probably add Kyuji Fujikawa, depending on how he performs over the next two months. I don’t believe the Cubs signed him to trade him immediately, but it can’t be ruled out.
- Tim Dierkes chatted over at MLBTR, and … (1) he doesn’t think the Cubs could get more than $1 million in salary relief for Carlos Marmol (I agree); (2) the Cubs would probably be better served letting the market develop before shopping their excess starting pitching; and (3) Scott Feldman’s trade value projects to be less than that of Paul Maholm, given that Maholm came with an extra year of control.