stoveI’m not sure if it was the close of the NHL and NBA seasons or what, but the rumor mill has ramped up quite rapidly in the last few days, in case you hadn’t noticed …

  • Speaking of which, Jed Hoyer told the media yesterday, per Carrie Muskat, that either he or Theo Epstein had been in contact with every other front office in baseball about possible trades at some point in the last four or five days. If you didn’t have an extremely clear “sell” signal yet, there it is. The point also serves as a reminder for the entirety of the trade rumor season: teams talk to almost every other team at some point about all kinds of possible deals. The vast majority never reach the “final” stages of a trade, but that doesn’t mean the discussions didn’t take place. Hoyer essentially just conceded as much. Teams talk.
  • The Marlins may set off the trading season soon by dealing starter Ricky Nolasco – something CBS reports they are desperately eager to do. Nolasco, 30, is pitching well in the last year before free agency, although he’s well-paid at $11.5 million. Nolasco’s 106 ERA+ is his best in six years (indeed, he hasn’t had an ERA+ over 100 since 2008), but his peripherals have always been pretty good (3.47 K/BB for his career, 3.76 career FIP). In the rental market, Nolasco is probably among the better pitching options, right up there with Matt Garza and Scott Feldman (arguably slotting right in the middle, in terms of value, depending on the money). A huge number of teams have been connected to Nolasco, and the story is one to watch closely over the next few days (Nolasco is scheduled to start again for the Marlins on Friday).
  • Nolasco moving soon could impact the Cubs in a number of ways. First, because of the similarities to other rentals the Cubs might trade, the return the Marlins get for Nolasco could set a baseline of expectations for a trade involving Feldman or Garza. Because the former is much cheaper and the latter much better, you’d like to see the Cubs getting a better return, but it’ll be a starting point. Second, and most obviously, whatever team lands Nolasco could immediately be out of the market for a starting pitcher, reducing the market for the Cubs’ starters. On the other hand, and finally, a Nolasco move could make teams in that team’s division – imagine if he heads to the tightly-packed NL West – feel a greater sense of urgency to make a move of their own.
  • Giants GM Brian Sabean suggests he won’t be making any moves soon, putting well into words a point I’ve tried before to articulate when discussing why the Cubs may not be able to make early trades even if they wanted to. “The best way to put is, the price of business right now is prohibitive,” Sabean said, per “Thus, we’re not going to do business, to spend all our money now or clean out our farm system. You’re not going to do anything without getting your clock cleaned as of this date. If somebody’s going to trade somebody this early, they’re going to have to win the deal and you’re going to have to let them win the deal. In doing so, that could wipe out your reserve for the money you spend, or more so, for the guys you want to use up the line when you really have to make a deal.” In other words, if a seller like the Cubs is going to deal one of its best pieces right now – before the market has fully developed and all bidders are in, and while more games remain on the season – they’re going to need to get a serious and obvious haul. Sabean says the Giants aren’t keen on doing that right now, which is understandable.
  • (Interesting side note here: most sources expect that the Giants will be the team most heavily interested in Nolasco. If true, who blinks first? Maybe Sabean was sending a direct message to the Marlins: drop your price, or we’re not in right now.)
  • Another starter who could really impact the trade market is Yovani Gallardo, and Brewers GM Doug Melvin has all but confirmed that he’s ready to listen. While telling the Sporting News that his team isn’t a “seller,” Melvin said things like this: “For us to win games moving forward, Yovani should be a part of that, but some teams get in pennant races and need that one guy to get them over the hump. It’s not a slam dunk that I’m going to trade Yovani or Lohse, but you never know. There’s a lot we have to consider about our club right now …. That Yovani is not a free agent like guys like [Zack] Greinke or Anibal Sanchez last year, he has more value than just two months of a rental, so the package from another team has to be something that will wow me.” That’s a guy who’s selling, no matter what he calls it. An effective Gallardo is the top arm on the market, partly because he’s under affordable control through 2015.
  • Jim Bowden lists 20 positional players who could be traded, a list for which Juan Pierre makes an appearance in the outfield, but Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus fall into the “best of the rest.” And that’s even after the fact that Bowden pegs Pierre’s trade chances at just 10%, but Schierholtz at 30% and DeJesus at 40%. I don’t think those percentages are off, but I do think that DeJesus and Schierholtz are miles more attractive in trade than Juan Pierre (who is hitting .243/.290/.300). Alfonso Soriano has a 25% chance of being traded, according to Bowden, who notes that the Cubs aren’t exactly itching to deal Soriano now that his value has slipped on the trade market and his value in the clubhouse remains very high.
  • Tim Dierkes at MLBTR notes that Dioner Navarro could be one of the better back-up catchers available in trade this year. While I can’t see Navarro, alone, returning too much in trade (a Barret Loux-like return, which is what the Cubs got for Geovany Soto last year, would be the absolute maximum), he could be a nice complement to a larger deal.
  • The Cubs technically have 10 (well, now 9) days to trade Carlos Marmol if they can find a taker, but Bruce Miles guesses the will be unable.
  • Buckle up for a month’s worth of rumors and deals. As BN’er Gonzo put it:

  • Cub Style

    Curse you Juan Pierre! Curse you two times!

    • MichiganGoat

      Best EBS EVER

      • MichiganGoat

        Yup that is the Ted Lilly almost no hitter

  • amskustoms

    Has there been any news on scott baker?

    • willis

      Nada that I’ve seen, which kind of leads me to believe the rehab is going meh and he won’t begin game throwing for awhile. Don’t expect to see him this year until real late if then. JMO.

  • Cub Fan Dan

    Hopefully the Cubs will be drinking someone’s milkshake. (Would be cool to see Theo beat someone with a bowling pin too!)

    • Brett

      If a trade goes down that feels like the Cubs slipping in and grabbing a prospect out from another team or something, that’s a photoshop that’s going to happen.

    • DarthHater


      • JulioZuleta

        Don’t ever change, Darth.

      • Smackafilieyo

        Where’s the “like” button?

  • jayrig5

    Doug Melvin, not Bob, although that’s an easy mistake to make. Unusual last name plus common first name equals constant confusion.

  • When the Music’s Over

    I don’t know that I necessarily agree with Sabean in that trading for a player a month before the deadline always means you’re going to have to overpay vs. waiting one month. Sure, you’re likely going to have to pay a bit of a premium for the extra month of services, but the trade market could easily go both ways in terms of prices for players.

  • Freshness21

    We trade Nolasco for Pierre and now they BOTH are trying to screw us?

  • SenorGato

    I find myself pretty optimistic about Ryan Sweeney and his ability to replace David DeJesus on the roster. Misplaced? Only thing his game is missing is power.

    • steve123

      I also find myself liking him. I hope that he is allowed to start the rest of the season to see what he can do. This would obviously mean trading one of our other OFs probably Dejesus.

    • ssckelley

      Sweeney has shown signs of being able to hit for power in the minors and already has 3 home runs this season. If the Cubs traded DeJesus I would have no problem seeing Sweeney playing everyday in his place. The only thing that DeJesus gives you that Sweeney does not is the occasional stolen base. But 3 stolen bases is not much to get excited about.

    • cub4life

      i completely agree…..we need to keep him a while…..I actually wouldn’t mind keep Schierholtz around, since he has 1 more year of Arb left.

      • gcheezpuff

        I get keeping Schierholtz, but the reason we’d want to keep him is also the reason he ends up one of our best trade chips. The Cubs might be better next year, but I doubt they are competing for a playoff spot. That being said, I think you have to trade Schierholtz while his value is at it’s highest. Package him with another guy and you might see a really nice return.

  • mak

    Maybe its just time for Bowden to hang ’em up? What has he written in the last 36 months that wasn’t completely speculative and totally inaccurate?

  • fromthemitten

    from the reports I’ve read the Marlins want the other team to pick up the majority of Nolasco’s contract. Considering the Cubs are willing to eat salary, that would (hopefully) put the Cubs offerings ahead of them.

  • Adam

    Can’t help but think Soriano would be a fit in New York. I mean that lineup is bad, and incredibly unhealthy.

  • North Side Irish

    Dylan Bundy needs Tommy John surgery…wonder if that makes the Orioles a little more desperate to add a starter. They probably weren’t counting on him this year anyway, but it also changes their 2014 plans too.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Interesting: Bundy (only 6’1″, 198lbs) is a smaller guy, who throws hard. I guess smaller pitchers aren’t quite as durable.

      • David

        Feldman for injured Bundy. I’d do it. Anyone else??

        • HackAttack

          In a heartbaet. No way the Orioles even consider it.

      • hansman1982

        Nope, smaller pitchers get injured at a rate comparable to taller pitchers.

    • Brett

      Good point about 2014.

    • billy

      holy shit. the cubs should throw as much as possible into making that trade happen. there pitching is horrible, and Bundy wont be able to even play next season.

      • X the Cubs fan

        they need a second basemen so Feldman, Barney and Gregg for Bundy and a pitcher?

  • Rudy

    If the Brewers are selling Gallardo and he’s under control thru 2015 why not the Cubs? I’m sure we could wow Melvin. It’s a bit outside the box and I would hate to get rid of a Soler/Baez/Almora type but you’d have to consider it. Would Voglebach/Alcantara/Cabrera package be enough?

    • David

      No. Not for those guys.

    • RizzoCastro

      He isn’t worth that to the Cubs. Hasn’t been that good this season. Been better as of late, but that’s more than I think he is worth to the Cubs. Maybe two of the three with another C prospect thrown in.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      I don’t think control through 2015 is enough. The 2015 is probably still iffy, and I’m guessing are shooting for a “peak” around 2016 – 2017.

      • Rudy

        A rotation of Shark, Gallardo, ?, Ejax and Wood looks ready to contend with a few more moves/prospect graduations the team looks ready to contend by 2015 Especially with Sori’s contract off the books and some renovation revenue… Add one or two big FA’s and one or two of Bryant, Baez, Soler, and Almora..

      • Kyle

        Lulz. It just never stops getting pushed back.

        • cerambam

          I was thinking the same thing.

        • When the Music’s Over


          There is a possibility the Cubs might have 5 straight drafts with a top 10 pick, with perhaps the last 4 of that bunch a top 6 or better pick. At that point, people will say the farm system is so good because Theo and Crew are the best, but I’d say anything less than a top 3 system under those circumstances would be a huge failure.

          All of this doesn’t include the injection of talent through flipping assets or international draft pool (also a byproduct of sucking every year).

          • Kyle

            What they’ve done so far isn’t crazy impressive, to be honest. It’s something a lot, probably even most, of MLB executives could do if given a mandate from ownership to divert all available resources to the farm system.

            The hard part is actually converting this collection of talent into a good MLB team. We’ll see how they do.

            • When the Music’s Over

              Yes, I wasn’t even considering the transition/conversion of MILB talent into MLB talent. That is by far the hardest and most crucial step of them all.

              Overall, if this team isn’t in line to sniff 90+ wins in 2015, then the master plan has for all intents and purposes failed.

              • Internet Random

                Cool handle.

        • BT

          by internet posters, not by the people running the Cubs.

      • hansman1982

        If 2015 is iffy, I will personally lead the 1st Pitchfork Division of the Torches and Pitchfork Army to Wrigley…or wherever the hell the FO are now.

  • RizzoCastro

    Tonight marks the one year anniversary since Rizzo was called up last year and he went 2-4 with a game winning RBI double. Hopefully he has a big game tonight and his bat gets hot!

  • NLIADad
    • Luke

      Good news. Neither one is really a surprise, but still good.

  • NLIADad
  • Dean

    Voted for Baez!

  • Eternal Pessimist

    I would have voted, but tired of all the data mining. Why would they make your birthday a required field?

    • hansman1982

      So they can charge an extra $.0001 per name so the companies can target their ads better.

    • Mr. Gonzo

      FWIW – I just put in my b-day as 1/1/2013 – it said I was too young to be registered for anything, but my vote still counts.

    • Scott

      Why worry about data mining? The government knows about every time you acess your favorite porn, make a transaction, or do anything. Privacy is dead.

  • FastBall

    I just hope Theo and Jed don’t try holding onto these players until the last minute like last year and end up screwing themselves. No Garza and blown Dempster deal last minute wrangling that got us a guy who hasn’t walked on dirt since we got him. Okay that guy was in the Maholm trade but still. We haven’t seen a productive player out of any of those trades and probably never will. Vizcaino is a figment of our imaginations. Does he really exist or is he a Virtual Player? I think he is a video game character who doesn’t really exist.

    • Scott

      Hendricks may have some potential. (Dempster trade) He’s been solid at AA

  • Rebuilding

    There is a reason Jim Bowden is making these lists for a living now and it’s not to spend more time with his family. And he really seems to have a dislike for the Cubs

  • Timmy

    Trade everyone, especially Theo. Back to square one.

  • Bilbo161

    Feldman is not a rental is he? Thought he had a 2 yr contract. That would mean he is worth a bit more than your implying right Brett? Perhaps a team like the Os would like him better as an option than Garza for that reason.

    • Rebuilding

      Feldman is a 1 year deal and Villanueva is a 2 year deal

  • Bilbo161

    Ahh. The source of my confusion. Thanks.

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