stoveFolks often ask me why the Cubs, since they’re likely to sell anyway, don’t start selling off pieces now while those pieces are at peak value (think Scott Feldman, for example) or while they offer their new team as many games as possible in 2013 (think anyone who is a free agent after the season, for example). While it’s true that you want to sell high and you want to be able to offer as much value as possible, there is another aspect of receiving optimum trade value: the market. Sure, you might find that teams view the value of a Feldman or a DeJesus at its highest right now … but you might find that there are only two or three teams even willing to discuss a trade at this point. Until the majority of teams have a better sense of whether they’ll be buying or selling, you would be putting yourself in a terrible negotiating position by actively pushing to deal a guy right now – because the market simply might not be there yet. If a team comes to you with an over-the-top offer, sure. Pull the trigger. Who needs to wait until July? But if you want the most teams interested in the pieces you’re actively shopping, and, thus, the best offer, you have to wait until the races really start taking shape – no earlier than mid-to-late June.

  • Ben Badler reports that the Cubs, among other teams, are interested in Marten Gasparini, a 15-year-old Italian shortstop who may be Europe’s best prospect ever. He’s eligible to sign when the next international signing period opens in July, and he’s expected to get a signing bonus over $1 million. This is big news for baseball, in general, as it has never really made great inroads into Europe (the most talented kids grow up playing other things).
  • Tim Dierkes at MLBTR looked through the trade market for lefty relievers, and, among the names explored, he listed James Russell as potentially the best option on the market. His age, effectiveness, and contract situation all make him highly desirable, which will be something for the Cubs to consider as they rebuild. On the other hand, those are all reasons that the Cubs may want to keep him.
  • And in Tim’s chat, he believes that a healthy, effective Matt Garza could net a top 100 prospect at the deadline.
  • Bruce Levine chatted at ESPNChicago, and … (1) Bruce suggests the Cubs and Ian Stewart are in a standoff right now, where the Cubs are hoping that his AAA benching will eventually force him to ask for his release (but he’s very unlikely to do it because he’d lose his contract); (2) Bruce believes the Cubs will be reluctant to focus big money or trade pieces on power arm type pitchers (the question was about David Price); (3) because the big-time prospect return isn’t going to be on the table for Matt Garza, the best case scenario for the Cubs is a short-term extension; and (4) Bruce has heard that Scott Baker might start pitching off of the mound again in June.
  • It is “unlikely” that the Padres will trade Chase Headley this season, even though they likely won’t be able to sign him to an extension. If they can’t come to an extension in November, they could then shop him in the offseason, or perhaps at the next trade deadline. Headley is a free agent after 2014.
  • Nick Cafardo lists the Red Sox, Rangers, A’s, and Yankees as among the teams interested in Masahiro Tanaka, the possible next Japanese ace to be posted this offseason. No mention of the Cubs, but, if the 24-year-old is posted, you’ve got to believe the Cubs will at least be in the conversation. The Dodgers, too.
  • Patrick Mooney talked to Ryan Dempster about the trade and the non-trade last year, and Dempster shares some insight into his decision-making process throughout the Summer. Dempster suggests he was willing to stick around with the Cubs on a cheap, two-year deal, but the Cubs weren’t interested.
  • It’s early, but keep an eye on whether Cliff Lee becomes available this year (Jon Heyman discusses that possibility here), and whether the Blue Jays become sellers with guys like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion (which Nick Cafardo mentioned in the article above). No, not because the Cubs would necessarily have interest in any of those players, but because their presence on the trade market could impact the Cubs’ bargaining position as they try to sell lesser pieces.
  • FanGraphs looks at what an albatross the Andre Ethier extension has quickly become, and how desperate the Dodgers might be to unload him. The Cubs should not be interested, regardless of how much money the Dodgers eat.
  • Don’t forget to sign up for the BN Fantasy Contest, folks. It’s free, quick, easy, and comes with a $300 prize pool. The full details are here.


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