It figures to be a quiet trade rumor week with the Draft on tap, but you never know: a team could try and swing a last minute deal involving a competitive balance draft pick.
- Jon Heyman was on the radio this morning with Mully and Hanley on the Score, and, among other things, Heyman discussed Starlin Castro’s struggles and whether the Cubs would bail on him and seek a trade. Heyman didn’t think it was very likely, but he does believe that Castro does still have very large trade value because of the age, projectable talent, and the team-friendly contract. Even if the Cubs signaled to the world that they simply wanted to move on and dump him, Heyman believes they’d get plenty in return. I’d agree with Heyman, though, that it seems really premature to be talking about dumping a 23-year-old shortstop with above-average defensive upside and well above-average offensive upside, who happens to be signed through his prime on a team-friendly contract. No, his approach at the plate right now does not comport with the front office’s philosophy, but it’s being worked on. Let’s give it more than a season, spread over two years, to take hold. How much time would you give a top prospect to make serious changes to his approach at the plate if he had the kind of natural talent Castro has?
- So, what’s “plenty” in return for Castro? Heyman didn’t elaborate (he didn’t feel the need, since, again, this is not likely to happen), but I don’t think you’d see the Cubs even consider considering a Castro deal that didn’t involve – as a start – a top 25 prospect and a top young, ML-ready pitcher. I’m sure they’d want more on top of that, and Castro’s value would justify that. Getting any more specific than that is a foolish exercise, because this is all wildly speculative to begin with. But folks are frustrated with Castro, and everyone wants to talk about trading him, however reactionary that might be …
- Bruce Levine spoke to an AL scout about Scott Feldman last week, and the scout had some complimentary things to say. “He is one of those pitchers that you don’t get that excited about unless you watch him over a period of starts,” the scout told Levine. “He has really commanded his pitches this season and you see the confidence and consistent outings from him.” Obviously Feldman’s results this year have been excellent, and it is useful to know what scouts think when we’re calculating trade value (if it comes to that). Levine’s piece also has some thoughts from Feldman on that subject.
- The Rangers have long been thought to be counting on a solid mid-season return from starter Colby Lewis to bolster a rotation that is already without Matt Harrison (who is not expected to return until August at the earliest after back surgery), and had been missing Alexei Ogando for the last few weeks with biceps tendonitis. Lewis, who is coming back from elbow surgery, recently had a “muscular” setback in his rehab, and has been shut down for a couple weeks. It’s fair to wonder whether the Rangers will start to get an itchy trigger finger to pick up a starter like Matt Garza (whom they almost acquired last year) or maybe a familiar face like Feldman.
- Interesting: the Brewers acquired third baseman Juan Francisco, recently DFA’d by the Braves, in exchange for a meh minor league relief prospect. The move was interesting because it could signal a willingness on the Brewers’ part to become sellers next month – which is to say picking up Francisco, 25, could allow the Brewers to shop incumbent third baseman Aramis Ramirez. The latter turns 35 this Summer, and is owed $10 million this year, $16 million next year, and a $4 million buyout (or $14 million mutual option) in 2015. Given that the Cubs don’t really have a strong third baseman to shop at this point, Ramirez on the market probably doesn’t impact the Cubs’ sell efforts, unless there is a team looking for a bat at third base OR in the outfield, and that team prefers Ramirez to, for example, Alfonso Soriano. Mostly I’m just interested to see how quickly the Brewers give up on this season and become sellers generally. They could shop Yovani Gallardo, who is struggling, but whose presence on the market definitely would affect the Cubs.