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stove[Site note: The Wife and I are taking a little  kid-free vacation this weekend, the travel for which will preclude your normal Saturday morning Bullets. Indeed, I'm not entirely sure I'll be able to get them up until well into the day tomorrow (so you might not see a Pre-Gamin' either). So, to help sate your desire for CUBZ NEWZ AND RUMOARZ, I'll offer you a late-night Lukewarm Stove. And I'll see you when I see you.]

Earlier today, Buster Olney said his sources are telling him the Cubs are now “open for business,” so why not have two Lukewarm Stove posts on the same day? …

  • On Twitter, Buster added to his own report, saying that not only are his sources hearing that the Cubs are ready to sell, they’ve actually started the process of exchanging names with teams on some of their players. I take that to me not necessarily that the Cubs have said “we want prospects X, Y, and Z for Player A,” but instead have discussed specific players of their own with specific teams who might have a need for that specific player. Even that is a few steps down the road from very superficial discussions. And, heck, Buster’s sources could mean that the Cubs have discussed specific prospect/player returns with other teams. That would be very far down the road, and suggests a trade or two might come long before the July 31 Trade Deadline.
  • Dave Cameron analyzes Nate Schierholtz’s great year for the Cubs, and says he’d be the trade target of a savvier club. The breakout has some statistical support, and Schierholtz comes with an extra year of control next year. The Cubs will gladly listen on Schierholtz, but I wonder whether the offers – which you can’t figure would be too impressive for a guy who hews a bit more closely to “role player” than “game changer” – will not be sufficient to overcome the value Schierholtz would offer the Cubs, themselves, in 2014.
  • Speaking of Schierholtz and Olney, the latter speculates that the former could be a fit for the Royals and the Pirates.
  • Jon Heyman looks at the Yankees’ need for a bat, which I discussed yesterday. In mentioning Alfonso Soriano as a possibility for the Yankees, Heyman says, “There have been rumors for years, almost since they traded him for A-Rod, that the Yankees might consider trying to get him back. One big issue is that while the Cubs are willing to pay the vast majority of his $18 million salary this year and next, they’d insist on a good prospect back for him.” The return and the money will always have an inverse relationship. Of course, the Cubs could stand for Soriano to start hitting again, too.
  • Heyman also discusses the White Sox as sellers, noting that with Jesse Crain, Alex Rios and Jake Peavy (if he heals quickly), the Sox have several marketable pieces. Crain could be one of the best relievers on the market, but Rios comes with warts and Peavy is hurt. Not sure how much selling competition there is here.
  • Although I’m not sure he’s basing it on much more than a geographic coincidence, Hank Schulman suggests that the Giants may have interest in Scott Feldman. The Giants are expected to look for a starting pitcher, so that part makes sense, at least.
  • Ruben Amaro is sticking to his story with respect to the Phillies selling, but I’m starting to suspect that he’s just negotiating via the media. Here’s what he told the AP about trading Cliff Lee and/or Jonathan Papelbon: “Absolutely not, because these are guys I’d be better off having on my club than not. Who am I going to replace these guys with to win a championship? These are championship-caliber players. If we think about moving these guys, then I better be getting someone of better or equal value and I just don’t see that happening.” Me thinks thou doth protest too much. Also, thou mentions getting better or equal value too much.
  • Ben Badler’s guess is that the Cubs and Rangers will be the teams most likely to look to trade for international pool space. Teams are limited in the way they can trade for such space (it comes in “slots” – more details here), but the Cubs might want to add more to their current $4.5-ish million pool (which is already the second-highest, behind only the Astros). The next international signing period opens up July 2.

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