stoveJuly is one week away from today, though we might not have to wait that long if the Cubs are already “open for business” and exchanging names

  • An executive source tells Andy Martino that, in the early going, the Washington Nationals have been the most agressive in trying to make a move soon. “They’re calling everybody, trying to do something,” the exec told Martino. “They’re looking for pitching, and they’re being really aggressive.” If the Nationals are looking to make a move much earlier than any other team, and they’re looking for pitching, the Cubs might be one of the best teams for them to try and line something up with, given (1) the Cubs’ tradable pitching, and (2) the Cubs’ openness to selling immediately. The catch for the Nationals is that, if they want a player now, they’re going to have to pay a price sufficient to convince the Cubs – or whatever team – to forgo the potential bidding war that could emerge in late July. That’s the tricky part for a seller, too. How much is enough to sell now? Might there be more buyers – more confident buyers – in July than right now?
  • Ken Rosenthal’s latest video report touches on a few items of tangential interest to the Cubs. Among them, the Rockies and Marlins talked about a Ricky Nolasco trade, but money was a hold-up (Nolasco is owed $6 million over the rest of the season). I find that interesting as the Cubs are likely to be in position to eat salary in pitcher trades in order to maximize the prospect return.

  • Nick Cafardo reports that the Red Sox may at some point soon decide that a change of scenery is what’s best for Daniel Bard, who can’t seem to stay healthy or effective, despite obvious talent. The Cubs’ front office is obviously familiar with the 27-year-old, and is known to have just a touch of interest in taking flyers on high-upside arms. Although he’s not going to be a reasonable in-season acquisition for a team looking to bolster its pitching staff for a stretch run, he could be a perfect fit for a team like the Cubs who’ve got nothing but time to evaluate and try to reclaim someone like Bard in the second half. The rub is that he’s got three arbitration years left after this one and is already making $1.83 million this year. How much do you trade away for a guy in that situation who has also been hurt and sports a 6.27 ERA over the last two years in just 60.1 innings in the bigs (not to mention a minor league ERA near 7 over that span)? You might land him only to decide in November that he’s not worth tendering a contract.
  • Yahoo’s Jeff Passan writes about a variety of possible trade pieces this year, in addition to the types of teams that will be making moves. The Cubs, listed as obvious sellers, have the pieces to move that you’d expect, and Matt Garza gets top billing. (Unrelatedly, Passan discusses the Dodgers’ pending outfield crunch, and I can’t help but be ridiculous and openly wonder whether the Cubs would consider taking on Carl Crawford for pennies on the dollar. They’re going to have plenty of outfield spaces to fill in the next two years, and Crawford would likely cost nothing more than some salary relief. I’m not saying the Cubs would go for it, but it’s the kind of outside-the-box acquisition that can surprise to the upside in the next couple of years, and for cheap.)
  • A small update from Jeff Passan, whose piece there was discussed this morning in reference to Cuban free agent Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. Passan wrote about the possibility of Gonzalez helping a team this year (which could hurt the Cubs’ in both the trade market and in offering Gonzalez the best contract), but he now hears from at least one official that Gonzalez has good stuff, but is not ready to help a team this year. That would position the Cubs slightly better.

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