stoveWe’re still a few weeks out from the time that the trade season rumors really start to pick up, but you are reminded in advance to follow BN on Twitter and like BN on Facebook to make sure you’re getting everything there is to see/hear/read. The latest from the rumor mill …

  • Jon Heyman reports that the Orioles are looking for a top-of-the-rotation arm to supplement their early success this year, but he says “the Orioles are said to have little if any interest in Matt Garza, who’s still working his way back from injury.” Certainly the Orioles would – and should – have “little if any interest” in Garza right now, since he’s got to show everyone that he’s back to his normal self. If he does show that in the next couple months, are teams like the Orioles still going to have “little if any interest”? That’s the question the Cubs will have to navigate, simultaneously as they explore the possibility of a team-friendly extension with Garza. The twin injuries – elbow last Summer, lat this Spring – have really thrown a wrench into an otherwise clear set of plans. My gut tells me the preferred options with respect to Garza are (1) sign a short-term (three-year-ish), team-friendly extension; (2) trade him in July for value that exceeds a compensatory draft pick; (3) make him a qualifying offer after the season, and collect the compensatory draft pick (or enjoy his return on a one-year, $14 million deal).
  • Bruce Levine chatted at ESPNChicago, and … (1) Bruce says the reason we hear about Jacoby Ellsbury (see the discussion Dave Kaplan started) is because of the Boston connection, though he does expect the Cubs to take a “strong look” at him after the season; (2) previous extension talks with Jeff Samardzija were for a three-year deal, says Bruce, which would be odd, given that such a deal would not have bought out any free agent years – maybe there were options tacked onto the end, and that was the sticking point; (3) Bruce wonders whether the Cubs will try to re-sign Matt Garza soon to a short-term deal, and whether Garza, given his injuries, would be willing to do it; and (4) both the Cubs and Alfonso Soriano realize that it will be best if he’s on another team come the end of July.
  • A little more background on the failed Carlos Marmol/Dan Haren trade from Gordon Wittenmyer. Haren would have come to the Cubs for a total of $12 million, with, it appears Gordon is saying, the Angels taking on all of Marmol’s $9.8 million 2013 contract. I’m not going to blast the front office for scuttling the deal after being scared off by his medicals, but it’s very interesting to think about how the rest of the offseason would have looked if Marmol had been gone, and the Cubs had picked up Haren for a net of just a hair over $2 million. Do they still sign all those starting pitchers? If not, which one isn’t signed? Do they spend the saved money on one of the relievers they missed out on (Jason Grilli, Mike Adams, for example)?
  • MLBTR took a look at David DeJesus as a mid-season trade candidate, and profiled his value. The projected return is a top ten organizational prospect, plus another “respectable piece” in the deal. For me, it would depend on the organization’s top ten (obviously the number 10 prospect in the Cardinals’ system is far better than the number 10 prospect in the Brewers’ system), but that’s about where my projection on his value has landed as well. For the Cubs to maximize the return on DeJesus (if they decide to trade him), though, they’d be best served packaging him with a pitcher to a team that needs both.
  • Ben

    Who do the O’s suppose they can get? They don’t want to trade their top 2 prospects, leaving them little to deal. A guy like Garza is exactly who they should be taking a look at, once he is pitching again. There aren’t many ace caliber pitchers available, anyway. Most would require a package far greater than the O’s would be able to offer.

  • Huch

    Is it a coincidence that B-Jax is playing LF for almost every game for the I-Cubs? Is this going to be his spot when/ if Soriano gets moved?

    • Noah

      It could be, but Jackson has also been dealing with some turf toe issues, so this might be more to limit strain on the defensive side of the ball for now.

      • Huch

        Just wondering if we would be seeing Borbon in center later this year, Ellsbury next year, and Almora in the future- does that move B Jackson over to left?

        • Noah

          I think the Ellsbury thing is still quite a bit ahead of the game. Yes, it makes some sense, but at how much money? After the stellar 2011, Ellsbury was injured throughout last year and really mediocre so far this year.

          Beyond that, there’s no reason to shift someone to left field to get him experience there. Pretty much anyone who can play solid center field would be a very good defensive left fielder without much experience there.

          I’d bet on the toe thing.

  • Justin

    Good stuff Brett.
    “both the Cubs and Alfonso Soriano realize that it will be best if he’s on another team come the end of July.” Is Bruce sure about this? Or is this like Bruce saying the Cubs will 100% for sure trade Marmol before the season. I think the key is Alfonso allowing the Cubs to actually trade him to more than a couple teams, and I’ll believe that when i see it..

  • ruby2626

    Why would the Cubs want Ellsbury? If one were to look at his stats you have to wonder if he was on the juice for his 2011 career year. 32 homers in 660 at bats and then 25 homers in 1,843 at bats outside of that year. He also seems to be very injury prone. Any offer over lets say what DeJesus is currently getting would be too much.

    • Justin

      2011 was the last year before MLB started testing for HGH. Just saying..

  • monty the full

    Sorry been gone ! Got into a scuffle at the park ! Was wondering when Garza for Bourbon trade would be completed!

    • @cubsfantroy

      They are still looking to get Bourbon’s brothers, tequila and scotch in the trade. So it won’t be completed until those pieces are in place.

  • Cyranojoe

    Why exactly is it in Soriano’s interest to be on another team come August? I’m not convinced that he’s really all that interested in the post-season, which leaves… what, in terms of motivation for him to accept a trade? The gratitude of Cubs fans everywhere? Certainly it’s in the team’s best interest for him to move on, but what would really drive him to accept a trade, especially if it’s to a team that can’t guarantee he’d play full time in the field and have a place next year as well? It’s not as though he’ll be playing again after this contract runs out in the end…

  • deej34

    Brett, or anyone else really – As much as I would have loved to get Haren and lose Marmol, But not if it would have cost us Feldman… Not that timing totally matters but what order were Jackson, Feldman, Villanueva and Baker contracts signed in relation to the Haren/Marmol deal?

    • Cyranojoe

      Everything came at least a few weeks after Haren’s deal fell apart, from what I recall. No doubt they were in nominal discussions with EJax and maybe the other three, but probably nothing deep until after the Haren-Marmol thing fell apart.

  • MaineCubsFan

    I’d like the idea of signing Garza to a 2 or 3 year deal, if he shows he’s back to old form, the off season, he could be moved for a good price and it would be worth other teams to get him with multiple years left. Soriano, I hope, gets on a nice power hot streak to help his slugging numbers, increase the price some….I like DeJesus but reality is, he serves us better with a trade. Any contender would want to have him around, good solid bat, solid glove, slightly above average speed and a good locker room guy. I would expect about the same as we got from Atlanta for Reed Johnson but maybe adding Feldman or Wood could land a decent 2nd teir prospect.

    • bbmoney

      DeJesus >>> Reed Johnson. And wasn’t Reed just part of the Maholm deal or am I wrong?

      I really don’t see much chance we trade Travis Wood.

      • Cyranojoe

        Reed went with Maholm, that’s right.

    • Norm

      If you’re Garza and you showed you were back to your old form, would you sign a 2 or 3 year deal?

      • EQ76

        maybe… depends on the money.

      • Cyranojoe

        Nope. If he delivers 3-4 months of no-doubt performance or something close to it, we’re not getting him for a 2-3 year deal. If there’s a middle ground, though, where he’s good enough but not quite smashing… I can totally see a 2 year deal with a player option type situation.

    • BTC

      I wouldn’t want to give up DeJesus and Wood/Feldman for only a 2nd tier prospect. Maybe for someone who is similar to reed Johnson and a prospect. Giving up those two for only a decent 2nd tier prospect seems like a waste.

      • Hookers or Cake

        Well Dejesus will be 34 in the off season and is having a great year. He’s nothing special, just solid. At the start of the year wood or Feldman weren’t assured of making the rotation… Pairing with either Wood or Dejesus should net a top 5 org guy/overall top 100 or I wouldn’t do it.

        • BTC

          I guess I wouldn’t be opposed to that, although I wouldn’t like seeing Wood leave. I just think that for a team that’s in contention, any of these players could be pretty valuable to the them. So the Cubs could get a little better of a deal then they would say in the off season. That’s where I would like to see them get a player maybe slightly worse then Dejesus, but still decent and paired with a pretty good prospect. That might be a little optimistic though. Or everything would have to align perfectly.

  • Hebner the Gravedigger

    I am not sure of specifics, but I think anything over a 3 year deal for Garza would make him a 10 & 5 guy (can’t trade). I would not want to get into this territory with then 32-year old SP with an injury history.

  • Mr. Gonzo

    Speculation pants on: I think the Orioles are still hoping the Phillies sell off big names at the deadline, ie. Cliff Lee and Chase Utley. Soriano wants one more crack at the playoffs before he retires, but as a veteran leader, he is trying to stay publicly optimistic until the deadline. I just don’t see Garza getting signed long-term in Chicago — if he performs well when he’s back, we trade him, if he doesn’t perform well or even gets re-injured, we let him walk in post-season. But it’s still really early with a lot of ball left to play. Speculation pants off.

  • JR

    I think the Cubs will sign Garza if he is healthy. I also think you will see them keep and sign Wood. He is not going to be a 1 or 2 starter but he is a solid lefty. They are not just going to sell off all the pitching as teams are having to lock up their own
    when they are still young. You can still trade DeJesus, Soriano, Barney and maybe Feldman.

  • JoeyCollins

    Brett, or anyone who can answer, have a couple questions I’ve been meaning to ask. If we trade Sori, or anyone else, and send a lot of cash with them to maximize the deal, does that count towards this years payroll? If so when theo says the payroll is maxed is there a chance they budgeted sending 15-20 million along in trades. I think that could put this years spending more in line with what people would expect to be available. Second question. After the Sanchez almost sign I remember reading that they were always looking at signing two starters, but what two depended on if we got Sanchez or not. Which guy was the back up plan? I seem to remember it being villanueva, with Jackson always involved but I could have that swapped.

    • aaronb

      Soriano’s contract is already figured into this years payroll/budget. So even if we payed 90% of his contract. It would still represent a savings.

      • JoeyCollins

        What about money for next years salary?

        • aaronb

          Generally speaking, teams don’t just cut a bulk check for traded player freight. Most likely the Cubs will send along the agreed upon portion of Soriano’s salary on the 1st and 15th. Whether he is here or elsewhere.

  • http://bleachernation lou brock

    In case you did not notice this FO not a big fan of Garza. Do not like him or his antics in the dugout, the clubhouse, & on the field. He is a terrible fielder, worth zero at the plate, can’t keep his pitch count down, & cannot stay healthy long enough for them to get him out of town.
    I would suggest they pitch him this year every 5th day until they get a decent offer – a top 5 plus a top 20 prospect from an AL team like the Angels or A’s – maybe the Royals.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Given what this tolerated (and even encouraged so long as the team was winning) in the Sox dugout and clubhouse last decade (think Animal House, but with a harder R-rating), I cannot see Garza’s antics meaning much. Similarly, these guys are going to put zero stock into how a pitcher fields or bats: great pitchers might be great or horrible at these things, and they have about the same worth.

      Now, the health issues are something about which they will worry. However, that is true for nearly all FOs these days.

  • David

    Garza, Feldman & Maples to Orioles for Bundy. Make it happen!!

    • Stevie B

      I’d trade Maples, Garza, and Baez for Bundy. Like today, right now….

      • DocPeterWimsey

        And the O’s will accept that in about 20 years…..

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Of course, they might finally be willing to part with Roberts now….

          • Oswego Chris

            Hey, don’t joke about Brian Roberts!…my therapist says the Cubs finally acquiring him may bring closure to the wounds I suffered during the 2005-2008 offseasons

          • Stevie B

            ha! Roberts….good one Doc.

  • mudge

    I hope the Cubs trade for catching prospects. Mighty thin & the jury’s out on Castillo’s defense.

  • Stevie B

    Have another drink Lou…

    I’m going equate having Garza to resemble having stock options in a company that announces a big IPO and never realizes the offering.
    If we get said return ^^^, I’ll be dumbfounded.
    That being said, here;’s to you being right Lou…

    Now, I’ll get back to my 1/2 empty glass.

  • Jim

    I think that Soriano is heating up and if the starting pitching can keep going with what they have been doing then this team could be over .500 by July. If that happens, then is Soriano still shopped? I think our lineup will have a glaring hole in it without Soriano. Neither Borbon nor Sweeney are power hitters so it is going to be all Rizzo and whatever Schierholtz can give you.

  • aaronb

    I think that haul for DeJesus is really wishful thinking. Aside from OPSing 80 pts. over his career average in a very limited sample size this year. He hasn’t OPS’d anything close to .800 since 2010.

    Add in the fact that his glove really only fits in a corner spot, he has severe platoon splits. AND he’s owed 6.5/1.5 buyout in 2014. I just don’t see much of a market for him.

    • ssckelley

      I disagree, I think a contending small market team like Kansas City would love to have him. DeJesus is the perfect “money ball” type of player as he gets on base and does not have a huge salary. I think the Cubs could get an organizations top 10 player along with a throw in. With Kansas City I would entertain their competitive draft pick or International Pool money so I can draft or buy my own prospect.

  • Dynastyin2017

    If we’re dreaming…..Soriano, a bunch of cash, a few 2nd tier minor leaguers to Washington for Rendon? They need hitting.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The Nats might well need Rendon to play 3rd soon given Zimmerman’s shoulder issues. At any rate, if they do trade Rendon, then I’d expect him to be a centerpiece in a trade for a bigger and more permanent player.

      • Dynastyin2017

        I don’t know a lot about the Nat’s financial situation, but didn’t they kind of tie themselves up with the Zimmerman extension and resigning of LaRoche? Oh yeah, I agree with you, Rizzo is way to smart to give up that kinda prospect for Soriano, but I’ve seen crazier trade proposals made. (would be moot anyway if we draft Bryant)

  • Bob Johnson

    I’m not so sure Cub management is a big Ellsbury fan. When he got injured in 2012, he kinda pulled an Ian Stewart & disappeared for most of the season.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Actually, that was 2010 when Els disappeared. And the egg was on the FO’s face, not Els. The team doctor(s) couldn’t find anything wrong with him, and the Boston people were getting antsy and questioning whether he actually was hurt. However, another doctor found a hairline fracture on one of Els ribs, which was the source of his pain and his inability to play. Els spent a bit of time away from the team during this (and afterwards during the rehab), which rubbed some people the wrong way. I think that Els’ view was that the quacks had had their chance and he wanted a competent doctor!

  • ruby2626

    If Garza is smart he’ll do what he can to resign with the Cubs. The Cubs will no doubt tender him a one year offer (around $14M someone said) and the team that will sign him will then have to forfeit either a first or 2nd round draft choice to the Cubs. You saw what happened to Lohse and Bourne, big negatives for the player, really slowed down the market for them.

    • aaronb

      I doubt Garza gets 14 million on the open market in 2014. He might be best served in taking the tender and trying to re-establish some value.

  • #1lahairfan

    Too bad we didn’t sign Grilli. Unless the issue was that he wanted to go to a contender I think that we should have outbid the Pirates. We still would have gotten a reasonable deal since the Pirates got him for 2/6.75.