As of this writing, the three best teams in all of baseball by record are the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Pittsburgh Pirates (who are tied with the Rangers for the third-best record). Think maybe the Cubs should sell?
- Cubs closer Kevin Gregg (I typed that without blinking this time, finally) isn’t thrilled about the trade rumors that swirl this time of year, which he considers somewhat disrespectful to the team, he told ESPN Chicago. Gregg wasn’t hostile in his comments, mind you, and was essentially just saying that he and his teammates don’t want to think about being traded when they’re still trying to win for the Cubs. I totally get that and respect it. That said, this does not appear to be a competitive team, and the process of making July trades necessarily has to start much earlier in the season. So the rumors are going to swirl.
- As for Gregg, himself, it will be very interesting to see how the market develops. It’s shaping up like a very weak relief market (obviously that can change quickly as teams fall out of it), and Gregg will be eminently available. He’s got a mixed track record, especially in recent years, but he seems to have reinvented himself this year. He started working with a sinker in 2011, and no one could really do much with it. He has apparently decided to use it much more this year, and he’s having great success with it. As you watch him, the performance seems to generally match the results, which include zero earned runs given up. He’s pitched just 13.1 innings so far, and some regression is to be expected. But the K rate is up, the BB rate is down, and his stuff looks good. What’s a rental reliever like that worth? Could the Cubs wind up getting a B prospect for Gregg? Maybe. They might do even better if he’s packaged with another player or two.
- In a completely unscientific, but nonetheless interesting, survey conducted by MLBTR, voters pegged Matt Garza as the single most likely player to be traded this year (he was named on nearly 40% of the ballots). Alfonso Soriano got the second most votes, and appeared on 35.2% of the ballots.
- Similarly, Jesse Rodgers takes a stab at estimating which Cubs will be dealt, and puts Garza at the top of the list, followed by Scott Feldman, David DeJesus, and Alfonso Soriano. Gregg is going to be up there, too, and then there’s a variety of guys the Cubs will consider moving if teams are interested. As I’ve done in the past, I’ll run down the entire list of tradable pieces as we get a little closer to trade season.
- MLBTR with a very interesting look at the value of competitive balance draft picks – the ones that come after the first round, and which are the only tradable draft picks. The piece concludes that it’s conceivable that a team could land one of those draft picks in trade for a mere role player, largely because of the high whiff rate on picks in that range (upwards of 60%). It’s worth pointing out that the competitive balance lottery is July 19, and that is the first day on which those picks can be traded. (My understanding is that the picks can be traded only in the year in which they are awarded (i.e., last year’s picks, which are a part of this year’s Draft, can no longer be traded), but I am open to being corrected on this point.) So look for draft pick trades to occur, if at all, late in July.
- Tim Dierkes chatted at MLBTR, and noted that Kendrys Morales is emerging as a very good trade chip for teams looking for a DH, which could impact the Cubs’ market for Alfonso Soriano, for example (although he wants to continue playing in the outfield, and he has been playing well there again this year). Dierkes also guesses that the Cubs could land a prospect in the 100 to 150 range in baseball for Scott Feldman, which would be a very solid return.