Lukewarm Stove: Cubs Pitching Trade Pieces, Price Velocity Issues, Flippable Gregg, More

stoveWith 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.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

83 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Cubs Pitching Trade Pieces, Price Velocity Issues, Flippable Gregg, More”

  1. @cubsfantroy

    Couldn’t we put Villanueva in the same category as Jackson at this point? Not that he is untradeable, but that he signed a two year deal with the Cubs. I could see if it was at the end of the year, but not the deadline.

  2. Michael

    Articles like this one are the reason I refuse to get to excited or upset about anyone the Cubs sign right now. Their objective is clear and its almost decidedly not long term value(exception being EJax). It’s like rooting for a minor league team, Anyone worth cheering for will be gone in a few months.

    1. Koyie Hill Sucks

      When does the revolving door end? 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017? At some point guys you sign who are performing you have to keep… It’s not like they are trading 35 yr old veterans.

      1. Kyle

        The revolving door ends when we hit June and aren’t hopelessly outside the playoff picture.

        1. baseballet

          Sometimes it feels like they’re oiling the revolving door.

    2. Norm

      I’m not sure what it means to be “worth cheering for”, but the only real exciting players (Castro, Rizzo, Samardzija) will likely be here for quite some time (unless Shark doesn’t want an extension).

  3. Mr. Gonzo

    My withered tea leaves are either giving me gas or a hunch… maybe both. But I truly feel like Garza, Feldman, DeJesus, Soriano & Barney are gone by trade deadline. Teams like the Orioles will definitely need a 2B down the stretch, and most likely more SP depth as well. Even the Tigers could use another OF option. It’s obviously very early but the list of buyers and their needs are starting to slowly develop. If the Phillies don’t sell off, the Cubs could potentially be the top seller this season.

    For me, at least, I like routing for the obvious trade candidates because, if they play well, A) they will help us win games B) They will yield us quality prospects, and C) They can play themselves onto a contender and get to the post-season (every ballplayer’s goal). Not all the names that I mentioned are playing well – or at all – right now, but as fans we can only hope for the best.

  4. Patrick G

    wow price only hit 96 once this year?

  5. noisesquared

    I don’t get why Wood is even on that list. He’s the type of pitcher that the Cubs should be trying to acquire – young, cheap, under team control for a few more years, and effective. Unless the return is out of this world, i don’t see him being moved.

    1. Dynastyin2017

      I agree. Most teams would kill for a 26 year old effective lefty. So why trade one when you have one? Unless, of course, the FO knows he’s about to run out of his ‘voodoo magic’, and they sell high.

      1. terencemann

        I think the price on Wood would probably be a little crazy. He’s cost-controlled and pretty good (he was good in the second half last year, too). I’m not saying he should be untouchable, but the price should be a lot higher than what you’d expect for a pitcher like Wood given the team control.

    2. Southern Cub

      I’m w/ noise on this, I’d have to be blown away by an offer to consider trading him.

      1. ssckelley

        I feel the same way, Wood is the exact type of pitcher the Cubs would want to trade for.

    3. frank

      Those were my thoughts as well.

  6. Crazyhorse

    nice read- dont really have any input. complaining about the Cubs is a waste of time. I just hope they win games.

  7. Stu

    The Cubs are going to gamble this year that being sellers at the trade deadline won’t drop attendance by a lot. That is already baked in. The question is, do they set up next year the same way?

    My guess is that fans are just going to get tired of watching the revolving door after awhile.

    1. Kramden

      So long as fans see players like Castro, Rizzo, hopefully Soler, Beaz, Almora, etc next year and beyond start filtering in and panning out every year I think fans will be okay with the revolving door of slugs.

      1. terencemann

        There’s a solid track record of new/newly renovated stadiums leading to a boost in attendance so I don’t think they’re that worried about attendance slipping a bit in the short term. Wrigley is as much a tourist destination as anything during the summer and even a not-so-great Cubs team isn’t going to significantly kill ticket sales during the prime months.

  8. Cyranojoe

    Is Russell on the wrong side of the age equation or something? He’s a solid bullpen contributor, which doesn’t seem that easy to come by, given our track record. Or is it just a “sell high” kind of situation there?

  9. Kyle

    Feldman and Garza are near certainties to be gone. I’m pretty sure they’ll find someone to give a good home to Marmol and Baker (if healthy), even if we don’t get anything but a few hundred $K in salary relief.

    It’s the guys who are under team control through next year that I’m really curious about. Many of them could give us key clues to their plans for 2014.

    Soriano, DeJesus, Villanueva, Fujikawa, Barney all seem like pretty plausible candidates.

    If they trade Barney, that’s mostly just a sign that they want to try to give Logan Watkins a shot to win an MLB job. I’m really not sure if he’s up to it or not, but I wouldn’t hate seeing him get a chance.

    With Soriano and DeJesus, I’d be surprised if both are traded. We don’t have any outfielders particularly close to the majors (Brett Jackson is still striking out 30% and Matt Szczur is still really mediocre at everything at AA), so that would be a massive indicator that they plan on going after an FA outfielder.

    I have no idea what our payroll is going to be (I could see anything from up $20 million to down $15 million), but I think one expensive position player is probably in our price range for next year, and since there are never any 3b, outfield seems like a good bet. Choo is probably out of our price range, but Ellsbury makes a lot of sense.

    If we trade Villanueva or Fujikawa, I’d expect a pretty good haul considering their extra year of control, but I’d take that as a major indicator that 2014 is not “the year” for them.

    Our pitching is already way too thin, and we’re losing a chunk of guys to free agency (Garza, Feldman, Baker, Marmol, Gregg). The minor leagues are not going to be much help replacing them, with Vizcaino as the only likely suspect (there are also some long shots like Cabrera, Paniagua, and hoping that Appel drops to us, but you can’t count on any of them).

    Getting a pile of useful pitchers at bargain prices was an amazing performance from this front office, but just like the Rizzo trade, we can’t assume they’ll be able to repeat it whenever they please.

    The upcoming offseason is *not* one you want to go into searching for a ton of pitching. There’s very little pitching, and every team in baseball will be getting a $25m bonus from the new TV deal, so the prices are going to be insane. Needing 2 or 3 new pitchers is going to be uncomfortable enough, but adding to that list by trading Villanueva and Fujikawa is just piling on the degree of difficulty.

    1. BWA

      I agree with all of this. Trade Garza and Feldman, and keep everyone else. That leaves us with Shark, Jackson, Wood, Villanueva, Vizcaino, A high caliber Free agent or Trade (Price, Johnson, Lincecum, etc ) and maybe Appel in the mix for 2014. You could also hope for a high caliber pitcher in the Garza deal, but a hitter would be fine too.

      As for hitters, I don’t understand why we would deal dejesus, unless we really get a substantial return. He is not extremely replaceable and is a fantastic, cheap option for next year. . Also, what about dealing Schierholtz? Isn’t he on a 1 year contract?

      1. Featherstone

        MLBTraderumors said this about a Dejesus deal “I’d imagine he could net at least one of a trade partner’s Top 10 prospects with another respectable piece in the deal as well.”

        I think that would be a good return on Dejesus depending on whose farm system we are talking about.

        1. Dynastyin2017

          If Kansas City is in on DeJesus, wouldn’t mind one of their top 10 with their #34 draft pick as the extra piece.

          1. hansman1982

            Then we’d have to trade him before June 6. These trades usually don’t happen by June 6.

            1. Dynastyin2017

              This is true. I have read, however, that KC is in a need help now rather than later mode. That could mean they are willing to overpay.

              1. Die harder

                I still don’t see them overpaying that much for Dejesus. It would be nice, but I don’t see it. Although some teams do a lot of stupid stuff during the year.

          2. Featherstone

            That seems that would be a pretty large overpay for Dejesus, which of course I wouldn’t mind.

          3. ssckelley

            I think the Cubs would love to get their hands on that pick, if nothing else but for the extra pool money. Package that pick along with one of their good pitching prospects and let’s make a deal.

      2. ssckelley

        Schierholtz has 1 more year of arbitration left. I do not think he nets as big of a return as DeJesus since he has not had sustained success at the mlb level. Besides Schierholtz is at an age where the Cubs could consider him part of their long term plans, or at least until the prospects start arriving.

    2. When the Music's Over

      Agree, but I’d listen to any offers if the price is right. Even Travis Wood. If some team is desperate for pitching at the deadline and you can ship off Wood and another useful piece or two for a pair of high quality single A or AA arms (like Owens and Barnes in Boston—please note this is purely hypothetical), the Cubs have to consider it.

    3. ssckelley

      Kyle, I think whether we like it or not we are going to see Brett Jackson starting CF sooner rather than later. I think he is the first one to get called up and start if the Cubs trade either Soriano or DeJesus. He is in his 3rd season at Iowa and it is getting time for him to step up and prove he belongs at the major league level.

      1. Kyle

        He might get August and September, but he’s not getting 2014 unless something drastic changes in his performance.

        1. ssckelley

          I hope you are right as I am not overly anxious to see him until he can cut down on those strike outs.

          1. Kyle

            Well, the issue is imo he’s not a “when will we see him” prospect at this point. He’s a burnout who we may well never see again, and almost certainly not in any important games, until he proves otherwise, which I don’t expect him to do.

            1. ssckelley

              That’s why I think if the Cubs are going to give him a shot at the MLB level it would be this season, a now or never kind of a deal.

      2. dw8

        Keep in mind that Sweeney and Borbon are still on the bench. They could trade DeJesus and make a roster move not related to outfield.

        1. terencemann

          Yeah, there’s no reason to call up Jackson if they trade an outfielder. They have plenty left-handed outfielders right now.

        2. ssckelley

          Sweeney and Borbon are not long term solutions for the Cubs outfield, at some point they have to see what they’ve got in Jackson. The Cubs are not going anywhere this season, playing Borbon and Sweeney get you nothing. I would rather see the Cubs give a prospect a chance to prove himself at the mlb level than watch cast offs from other teams playing just to fill the lineup.

          1. Kyle

            We’ve seen what we have in Jackson. It’s awful and not a major leaguer.

            1. ssckelley

              True, but you know darn well he is going to get another shot at it. Borbon and Sweeney are nothing more than 4th outfielders, they have had their chances.

              1. hansman1982

                Ya, once the season is toast (in about 3 weeks) no sense in not trying things.

    4. jt

      Ellsbury offers some advantages over DeJesus but cost/benefit allocation of resources: do you believe Ellsbury would be a good investment over DD?

  10. FastBall

    I think we should keep Villanueva and sell Jackson unless he gets on track soon. Even if he does maybe we sell him anyway. I don’t think it’s a crappy move or Marlinish to deal him. He has experience on winning teams and play off experience as well. My thinking on Jackson is this: For some pitchers it’s really hard to focus like lock down focus when you know going into a start your odds of winning aren’t good. It actually gets to be a bit demoralizing and some guys just don’t have the ability to overcome it. Some will say that $Millions in salary should not allow this to be the case. Sorry but I was around guys like this and it is reality. Some guys just don’t perform well in a losing environment. They can’t get up to the level they need to be at and excel at the level they are capable of.

    Watching Jackson pitch this seaso I have to say he is not unlucky. He is all over the place and has no pitch location. You make your luck as a pitcher by hitting the glove. He can’t make anybody hit his pitch because he doesn’t have his pitch. His pitches that are in the zone are hit. If he was hitting the glove his pitches in those zones would find their way to defenders. I can see a bad luck hit or two a game if your good. But that becomes rare if your good at hitting the glove. I hope he turns things around. If he had some solid run support a couple times out it might change him.

  11. RoughRiider

    Brett
    I’m all in on signing Norberto if he is able to recover from his injury. They have an open spot on the 40. I’m with you, he looked pretty good last year

  12. Drew

    Commenting to see if my Avatar is now attached.

  13. @murdiddlyurdler

    trade everything but rizzo and castro. i’d like to see them sign o’flaherty from atlanta and fill out the pen a bit more this offseason. other than that, just keep signing guys to trade for lottery tickets, see who pans out from the minors and adjust your trade targets accordingly. headley is a free agent after next season if the pads don’t sign him longterm, price will be a free agent the season after that. it won’t be hard to contend if you can get the big guys and let the prospects fall in around them. kind of a higher priced version of the orioles.

    1. Drew

      ” just keep signing guys to trade for lottery tickets” – yes, because with Lottery Tickets your chances are 1 in 173 Million. . .

      1. @murdiddlyurdler

        I don’t understand the point you’re making. prospects are like lottery tickets. who on this team besides starlin, shark and rizzo is worth so much that a similar replacement couldn’t be signed any offseason? if their talent level is average you trade them for a minor leaguer with 6 seasons of control rather than keep someone with 2 controllable years at most.

  14. jt

    Seems pretty hard to talk about Fuji and Arodys. There is pretty thin data and and eyeball evaluation to assess what is there. Perhaps what they show ( Fuji sooner rather than later ) may determine some of the moves to be made.

  15. Voice of Reason

    Sure the cubs will trade some, most or all of those guys, BUT gone are the days when you get other teams top prospects in exchange.

    That’s why its so important that we continue to build our minor league system.

    Jed and Theo are working it.

    By the way sveum is a brutal manager. Not even God could coach this team, but sveums decisions sometimes defy all logic.

  16. Die hard

    The real question should be who on the Cubs is or should be untouchable ? Arguably Castro and Rizzo but after that I can’t think of anyone else– so really Theos job should be easy in approaching teams and ask them to make him an offer

    1. Voice of Reason

      I would even trade Castro in the right package!

      It would have to be overwhelming and he is close to untouchable.

      For me my only true untouchable is rizzo

  17. Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Feldman, DeJesus, and Barney (if they prefer) should be packaged together to KC for:
    RHP Louis Coleman [AAA]
    RHP Yordano Ventura (#3) [AA]
    RHP Kyle Smith (#15) [A+]
    C Cam Gallagher (#13) [A]
    and the #34 pick in this year’s draft

    I’m guessing Scott Baker will not be healthy enough to trade or even get a bite on the August waiver trade deadline, so we may see what he can do in September and sign him to a club-friendly extension.

    That leaves Soriano, Garza, Navarro, Marmol, Camp, Bowden, Schierholtz, Villanueva, and Hairston to trade. I’m sure we could pull a trade with the Marlins for Stanton with some of the prospects we get from the trades. We need to lure a big name free agent after the trades, too.

    2014:
    1B Rizzo (L)
    2B Cano or Utley (L) [that big name, free agent]
    3B Valbuena (L) / Vitters
    SS Castro
    C Castillo / Back-up
    LF Soler
    CF Jackson, Borbon, or Sweeney (L)
    RF Stanton [for: Baez (#1), Ventura (#3), Johnson (#7), Lake (#9), and Smith (#15)]
    BN Watkins (L)
    BN Rohan
    BN Szczur
    SP Samardzija
    SP Vizcaino (if healthy)
    SP Baker (2 year extension)
    SP Wood (L)
    SP Jackson
    LR Negrin
    LR Rusin (L)
    RP Parker / Dolis
    RP Rule 5 pick
    RP Bowden / Rondon
    SU Russell (L)
    CL Fujikawa

  18. Walter Sobchak

    Mike Stanton would average bout 90-120 games a year having to play right field in wrigley…..a package that could net bubba starling from kc…. For dejesus and plus one that could net a pitcher as well …. That’s solid value

    1. Kyle

      Bubba Starling is awful and can’t hit. Pass.

      1. Dynastyin2017

        He might be a good backup quarterback though.

      2. Jp3

        Speaking of cant hit, Ian Stew got in the game tonight in Iowa as a pinch hitter…he failed to live up to the “hitter” part of pinch hitter.

      3. hansman1982

        Quick, let’s play “Who has the worse BB/K ratio – Starling or Baez…

        1. The Dude Abides

          Only one who matters is Castro, the other guy is a low level minor leaguer. I’ll worry about him if he makes it to the majors, if he doesn’t why bother?

          1. hansman1982

            The million dollar question is…

            “Does he have a chance in hell of making it to the majors”

            (The answer is “no”)

  19. 70'scub

    Please no big name free agent! Get young, deep and sound like the Braves.

  20. Saving Grace

    Baez got off to a slow start in Daytona
    Yet he is leading them in runs ,hr,s ,
    Is 2nd in. 2b,s , 3b,s. , RBI,s
    He,s just 20 , he’ll be a fine MLB player

    1. Die hard

      Time to send him a one way bus tkt to the Show

  21. Saving Grace

    Time to realize these guys are young kids and need time to develope
    They’re all learning the game

    I’m sure you were an all star at you,re job at 20 and better than everyone with years of experience
    You’d of preformed tremendously with a bunch of people scrutinizing every little nuisance ofyour job,criticizing everything.
    Having people blog about your faults,shot comings,and every issue on and off the job
    Having people heckle you on the job,boo you,yell at you
    Having people try to make you fail while you are trying to succeed

    It’s not time to come up to the show
    2015 is realistic
    It’s time to be patient,let all the kids get time and reps under their belts

    1. Die hard

      Learn to swim by jumping in deep end–works every time and makes you stronger and more confident– quit babying them and move em up is my vote

      1. King Jeff

        There is a long history of baseball that suggest that this does not work even close to every time. It hurts more than it helps, ask David Clyde, Dave Roberts, and many others.

  22. Saving Grace

    2011 short season. Rookie ball. And. Low A
    2012. A ball. And. High. A
    2013. High A. To start
    Their moving him quickly. No babying
    And everyone has their own pace
    You might have failed if you were thrown into the deep end to start whatever career you do
    With all the added pressures I mentioned in last post associated with baseball

  23. Moe C

    Ok i just want to make a quick point about trades and getting assets for the future. The Cubs have been trading away and trading away to get prospects to help the team out in the near future (TB Rays style) but when does that stop? We have traded away quite a few top guys to get new players in the minors but if we continue to do this year in and year out we will never get better cuz we will always be trading away guys that could win now for future guys. As sad as it is to say if the cubs fixed a few holes in the offense and bullpen this team would be able to compete. The one guy that Theo brought in for the long haul is the only one sucking it up (Jackson). These other guys we are looking to trade Villanueva, Wood, Feldman have done amazing jobs. If we didnt trade Maholm add in Shark minus Jackson we would have a pitching staff that could win now. If we trade everyone away we will be back to square one on developing prospects and that hasnt gone so great minus castro, which is another guy they are looking to trade over Baez.

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