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.
  • Rizzo 44

    I think the Cubs should be interested in resigning Garza to a three year deal with two option years or a four year deal with an option year. I would start at 3 years 51M with the options being for 18.5M each year and if its the 4 year deal I would say 4 years 68M with the option at 18M. I see how his next few starts go and if he does well and feels good I would then start there. I think a rotation of Shark, Garza, Wood, Jackson, Feldman would be pretty good. If the Cubs sign Appel/Gray you have a number 1 or 2 for the future. I think that Russell is a player the Cubs have to think about trading if you get something good in return. I think the Cubs will rebuild the BP this winter anyway with Marmol going off the books along with Camp. The Cubs have money and will spend it when the time is right. I think Soriano, DeJesus, Russell, Feldman, and even Garza (if not resigned) get trade before the deadline.

    • Chad

      You want to give Garza 17 million a year? That seems like a lot to me. I think he’d be more in line for what they gave Jackson. If they are pursuing an extension with Samardzija though they will be tying up a lot of money in that rotation.

      • Rizzo 44

        He is worth 17M if he can produce as a number 2. Cubs need that. Yes but remember Soriano and his 18M are gone after next season. I think it can be easily done with the Cubs revenue. Just my opinion. If you can get him to sign cheaper than I’m okay with that.

        • aaronb

          I doubt he touches that on the open market. His recent injury issues and choice of rehab over surgery puts him in the Edwin Jackson to Brandon McCarthey level of compensation.

          3/42-4/56 would be the upper levels of what I’d envision him getting.

  • JulioZuleta

    It has brought me much joy to watch the Dodgers’ struggles early on.

    • ssckelley

      Me to, along with the other team in Los Angeles. The amount of money both teams have spent (~360 million) to achieve the results they have gotten so far is insane.

  • SenorGato

    I’m thinking A top 100 for Garza does nothing for me. I am starting to believe they should trade him.

    Understanding that he is an 18 year old pitcher, I would not mind passing on every Japanese starter until Shintaro Fujinami is posted. Insane talent is a little dramatic sounding but everything ive read about him points in that direction.

  • ssckelley

    So the Dodgers might be willing to eat much of Ethier’s salary to trade him? What the Dodgers have done totally blows my mind, they have more money committed to their salary in 2018 (88.5 million) than what the Cubs have committed over the next 2 years combined (82 million).

    Perhaps Ethier just needs a change of scenery or perhaps it is just conflicts with Mattingly, if I am Hoyer I inquire to at least to see what the asking price is.

    • bbmoney

      Eh, Ethier is really nothing more than a platoon bat at this point in his career. Our platoon preference not withstanding, no reason to trade for a 31 Y/O platoon guy.

      That contract was terrible. The Dodgers would basically have to give him away and pick up the tab for their pleasure.

      • terencemann

        That Ethier extension is like something the Cubs would have pulled at the end of the Tribune/Hendry years.

    • itzscott

      >> Mattingly, if I am Hoyer I inquire to at least to see what the asking price is. <<

      The Cubs historically have been saddled with enough players like Ethier who have just been happy to be here without any competitive fire to win…. ask Lou Piniella. He's the one manager who desperately tried to convince his team to play with a chip on their shoulders, but they were just happy to be here and would have none of it.

      Lou saw it was a losing battle (as did Leo "Nice guys finish last" Durocher) and he quit likely out of frustration.

      The Cubs need players who are competitive and driven to win. I side with Mattingly on this one.

  • Steve123

    I do not understand keeping someone that is in the last year of their contract and is playing above their level (Feldman, Gregg, maybe even Dejesus). Ideal trade scenarios before the trade deadline for me are as follows.
    Feldman, Marmol to the Orioles for Eduardo Rodriquez (a 20 year old LHP with a ton of upside and already in A+)
    Dejesus, Vitters to the Royals Yordano Ventura ( very solid almost 21 year old RHP with a ton of upside)
    Garza, Soriano to the Rangers for Mike Olt, Martin Perez
    Gregg, Schierholtz to Giants for Gary Brown and Joan Gregorio

    • Chad

      Those are very specific and I don’t know those prospects but guessing they are some of the other team’s best in which I say, no way you get them with what the cubs can offer.

    • Chad

      So I looked up these prospects on

      And if you think
      Feldman, Marmol will get you the Orioles #4 prosect (#3 if you don’t consider Bundy a prospect anymore)
      Dejesus, Vitters will get you the Royal’s #3 prospect
      Garza, Soriano will get the Rangers #2 and #6 (1 and 5 with Profar in the majors)
      and Gregg, Schierholtz to get you the Giants #2 and #15 prospect you are CRAZY.

      Maybe Garza and Soriano might, MIGHT, get you that, but I doubt it and none of those others are even fathomable.

      • bbmoney

        Side note, I’m sure it’s been discussed as he’s a favorite. Is Olt hurt?

        His 39.5% k rate in 89 PAs this year is…..alarming, but small sample and if he was hurt….. He hasn’t played in a few weeks.

        • mudge

          Olt having vision problems.

          • bbmoney

            Ah yes….that’s concerning to say the least.


        • Cub2014

          That’s why trading for prospects is dicey.
          (Vitters hit better at AAA than Olt has)
          I think Jed believes in stockpiling talent.
          His method is simple sign 1 year mid level
          Contracts at deadline trade for prospects.
          Trade top prospects for a few elite players,
          When you are ready to compete. You can
          always sign the midlevel guys to fill in. But I
          Think for next year he is looking for 3 studs:
          A #1 starter, left handed power OF, and a top
          Of the line 3B.

      • Jay

        And that’s what drives me batty—some of these fans thinking “we should trade so-and-so crap player that we don’t want from our team for the other team’s best prospects”. Hello? The other team has brains, too….and probably more than we have.

  • Beer Baron

    I wonder what kind of deal they could get for Samardzjia? An at-times dominating power pitcher with 2.5 years remaining on an affordable contract is probably their most valuable commodity right now. It’s pretty clear the Cubs won’t be championship competitors for at least 2 years, at which point he will be in the final year of a contract he has said he won’t extend (or at least extend at less than full market value). So he is really a luxury they don’t need at this point. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be happy to have him out there the next 2.5 years, but if they could somehow spin him for a premier talent I’d be all ears. But I would only consider trading him for a premier prospect – preferably a top pitching prospect – but depending on how the trade market shapes up I think he might have that kind of value.

    • Chad

      You don’t trade your best pitcher that has 2 years left on his contract that you can extend. He just said he’s not extending right now, not that he won’t ever do an extension.

      • Jay

        They’re not trading Smardj, and he’s simply waiting because he knows if he keeps pitching the way he has been, his price will only go up.

        • Beer Baron

          At which point you’d be paying something around $18-$20 million to a 30 year old power pitcher. That’s not exactly a good deal either. At this point I don’t think its anywhere near a sure thing that they extend him, and I’m just saying they’d be foolish to not listen if someone offers a premier prospect.

          • http://Noclue SenorGato

            I tend to agree with this. Samardzija is a monster trade chip and could bring back something special – at least moreso than anyone but Castro or Rizzo. The thinking is that he will be 30+ with a new contract by the time this franchise is “ready” and there’s this underlying assumption that he has another step forward in him that might be exploited.

            Only problem is that I trust 99% of prospects as far as I can throw them and I like Samardzija. Epstein did say a long time ago that they would do things that maybe the fans wouldn’t like right away…trading Samardzija would now fall into that category.

            • ssckelley

              But at what point do we start collecting the talent in order to win instead of constantly flipping it for other assets? Samardzija and Wood seem to be the closest the Cubs have to being untouchable. Those are 2 players that seem to fit into the Cubs long term plans and can help them win in future years. IMO, if the Cubs are sellers then they need to flip the veteran players as those are usually the ones other teams like to pick up for the playoff run.

              At some point we gotta stop the mentality on trading everyone away just because they have value to another team. How about having value to play for the Cubs?

              • Norm

                There should be no such thing as “untouchable”.

                • ssckelley

                  I never said they were not untouchable, the exact word I used was “closest”. If I was the Cubs GM I would have to be blown away by any offer for Samardzija.

                  • frank

                    I understand what you’re saying–if you continually trade away anyone with value, you’re in constant rebuilding mode–great for the farm system, not great for the major league team. And prospects flame out at a high rate–at some point, you may even end up losing ground rather than gaining.

                    • Norm

                      This just isn’t true. Who says you need to trade Samardzija for prospects?

                    • D.G.Lang

                      I agree. another problem with flooding the farm with excessive talent is that a team can’t possibly use every player in their farm system or trade them away and eventually will wind up losing them to the rule 5 draft.

                      It’s not the quantity of good MILB players that’s important, but the Quality of them and how they can help the parent club.

                      Keeping a great MILB player who has no place on the parent club will result in either trading him away, or losing him in the rule 5 draft.

                      It’s much better to concentrate of fewer but better players who do have a chance of joining the parent club quickly.

                • frank

                  Couldn’t find a reply to you reply to me–
                  That is true, trades don’t have to be for prospects alone. The problem occurs if you don’t “win” a good percentage of these trades. You end up stagnating at best, filling some holes but losing value in other areas. Of course, if you do win those trades, then you should be ok.

              • http://Noclue SenorGato

                I forget about Wood…there’s a sell high candidate.

                • ssckelley

                  While we are at it, let’s see what we can get for Rizzo!

                  • Norm

                    Apples and Oranges…

                    • ssckelley

                      but you said no one is untouchable

                    • Norm

                      Exactly…Rizzo isn’t a “sell high” is what I’m talking about.

      • Dynastyin2017

        So, if Miami came to you and said ‘we’ll give you Stanton for Shark and Baez” you would do it? I think Shark would would net us the best return. Not saying we should trade him, but the only untouchables we have are Rizzo and maybe Castillo (since we have no one to take his spot).

    • Kyle

      It is most certainly not clear that the Cubs won’t be championship contenders in 2014 or 2015.

      • http://Noclue SenorGato

        This is the other side of the situation as next year’s team has real potential if thy keep the right guys, make some smart moves, and get some mileage of the farm somewhere/somehow.

      • Rcleven

        14 is a little early. 15 they should be able to compete.
        Took Washington 3 seasons to stop the bleeding. 4th season they became competitive.
        No reason to believe the Cubs can’t do the same.

  • josh

    i really hope that arizona needs pitching help in july, a garza plus cash and one of the outfielders for tyler skaggs trade could work out well for both clubs. they have an over abundance of pitching and archie bradley has been great this year in the minors so skaggs could possibly be expendible.

    • Norm

      Or they can just promote Skaggs to the big league team and have him for 6 years before he’s a free agent…whereas they’d only have Garza for 3 months.

    • bbmoney

      I can’t see that happening. With Corbin pitching well (I mean he’s likely not this good, but still), Skaggs still in the minors (and just about ready) and Daniel Hudson on his way back from injury. Seems like they’ve got as much SP depth as anyone in the majors.

      • bbmoney

        oh and that Delgado guy. Although, he appears to be struggl….ing in the PCL so far this year.

  • hansman1982

    The same can be said of July trades. The “Well, if he makes another start his value decreases” thing doesn’t seem overly accurate. GM’s only make in-season trades when they have to and not a day before and the trade deadline provides that opportunity.

  • Cubbie Blues

    I didn’t read that FanGraphs article about Andre Ethier to mean the contract was an albatross. I read it more as Mattingly throwing a little hissy fit and wanting a player he perceived to have more BF% & SCrP+.

    • Brett

      Did you read the second half?

      • Cubbie Blues

        Ha, I guess I never finished the article. Yes, I agree the contract is going to be an anchor. I still say Mattingly is throwing a hissy fit.

  • Stu

    Another day, more Ian Stewart.

  • Kyle

    “a top 100 prospect”

    Be still my heart! A whole, single, top-100 prospect!

    That’s a really wide range of value. Depending on which end of the top 100 you are taking from, that could be an awesome return for Garza or a terrible one.

    • Song Cycle

      I would infer a player at the lower end of that range. otherwise you might say “a top 20 prospect.”

  • Tim

    15 years old? Good god. How much of their international spending pool does a team commit to this guy? SO much can happen between now and when his eta in the bigs is. I mean.. Realistically, 6-8 years don’t you think?

    • Kyle

      Almost all worthwhile IFA prospects are signed on or around their 16th birthdays.

      That’s why it’s even more of a crapshoot than the draft.

      • Tim

        I understand that. But how much money do front offices throw at these guys?

        • cms0101

          The top guys get $1-2 million, or more in some cases. It depends on what the market is for the player in question.

  • RoughRiider

    “effective Matt Garza could net a top 100 prospect at the deadline”.

    it would have to be a top 30 prospect and another PROSPECT besides. I would prefer the Cubs resign Garza if they can. A bird in the hand.

  • ruby2626

    Just sign Garza and get it over with. I love these prospective trades where if the guy you acquire works out he’ll be as good as the guy you are trading. With his injury problems and the fact he will be tendered his asking price should be much lower than it was a year ago. I say 3 yrs $13M plus a 4th year which becomes guaranteed if he pitches 180 innings in year 3 then a $3M buyout if not exercised.

  • Jason P

    If people are starting to throw out “Garza could net a top 100 prospect” as a positive thing, then it’s time to talk extension.

  • Kevin B

    Well said Jason P!!

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