Rounding out your week in rumors …
- David Price left his last start with tightness in his triceps. If that sounds familiar and makes you queazy, that’s probably because, when Matt Garza left a start against the Cardinals last July just before the Trade Deadline, it was with triceps tightness. That went through several iterative descriptions before it was finally termed a stress reaction … in the elbow. It ended his season, and after a lat injury this Spring, we’re still waiting to see him back on the mound for the Cubs. Price has been sent to the disabled list with no-seriously-it’s-just-a-strained-triceps, and the Rays are emphatic that they have no long-term concerns. Price is expected to miss only a few starts.
- This is of moment to the Cubs because they’ve repeatedly been connected to Price as a potential future trade target, as it is/was widely expected that the Rays would be shopping Price this Winter. So, now what? The injury is, on some levels, not surprising, as we’ve speculated about an injury issue given Price’s reduced velocity and effectiveness this year. It could certainly impact the Rays’ asking price on him, but here’s the problem with that: if his value sinks too low because of the risk associated with the injury, the Rays may decide they have to keep him at least until the Trade Deadline next year (and eat half a season’s worth of another arbitration raise). Even if they don’t, the reason the Cubs would be getting him at a bargain is because of the injury risk. Given the expected financial investment (a big reason to trade for Price now is to have the first crack at extending him), is that really a bargain at all? So, in short, the Price injury makes me nervous, and I was already nervous. The upshot of a reduced trading price isn’t really all that appetizing.
- The Detroit Tigers are “looking hard” for bullpen help, according to Danny Knobler. Although the Cubs are likely to be sellers in short order, the bullpen isn’t going to be one of their selling strengths (unless a team wants someone like Carlos Villanueva as a bullpenner). If Carlos Marmol were pitching more consistently well, he could be a fit, but unfortunately he is not. Kevin Gregg is pitching well, but it’s a very short track record built upon on a long track record of “meh.” Shawn Camp has flopped, Kyuji Fujikawa has been hurt (and probably wasn’t going to be traded anyway), and Michael Bowden/Hector Rondon aren’t trade pieces. That leaves James Russell, who actually would be a pretty appealing trade piece. Thing is, the reasons he’s an attractive trade piece – young, cost-controlled, effective, lefty – are the same reasons the Cubs are going to be inclined to keep him.
- (Almost entirely unrelatedly, Rick Porcello – a potential offseason target for the Cubs this past offseason – has terrible baseball card stats, but his peripherals scream that he’s one of the best buy-low candidates ever. He’s basically letting everyone who gets on base score, and is giving up an unsustainably high rate of homers. His strikeouts keep trending up, and his walks keep trending down. If the Tigers lose faith in the near-term – and I don’t have any plausible formulation of a trade that makes sense given the teams’ respective standings – I’d hope the Cubs would try to buy low.)
- Although the Cubs and Anthony Rizzo put together an in-season, long-term extension, it doesn’t sound like that’s in the offing for Jeff Samardzija. His agent told Bruce Levine that there were no discussions going on. Sounds like the Cubs and Samardzija will wait until the offseason to re-evaluate. At that point, the Cubs will have two more Samardzija arbitration years left.
- Ken Rosenthal notes that the Cubs may want to extend Matt Garza, which is something I expect us to hear a fair bit about over the next few weeks. Extend? Trade? Extend? Trade? Maybe neither.