Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

stoveA Saturday Lukewarm Stove in June. I never thought I’d see the day. The latest in non-Matt Garza rumors (since he’s got his own Watch going on, he’ll get a separate post) …

  • You can rest easy about those Jeff Samardzija Diamondbacks rumors. Buster Olney reports that there actually were conversations between the teams, but the Cubs asked for tip top pitching prospects Archie Bradley and Tyler Skaggs (as they absolutely should have), and the talks ended quickly (as they probably should have). As I said when the rumor first popped up, because of Samardzija’s unique situation and the Cubs’ theoretical march toward competitiveness in 2014/15, trading Samardzija would only make sense if it was a franchise-shifting deal. And that’s rarely going to make sense for the other team.
  • As I mentioned last night, many organizations were in attendance to check out the latest outing from Cuban free agent Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. Danny Knobler reports that the Cubs, specifically, were “heavily represented.” Knobler continues to hear that the price tag could move upwards of $60 million over five years, though some are guessing it could be $40 over four years. Either way, it’s a serious risk and serious investment. The Cubs are going to want to be very confident before making a move, and sending a cadre of scouts to last night’s start was just one piece of that puzzle. The Dodgers are still the favorite here, because, you know, SIGN ALL THE PLAYERS.

  • Theo Epstein wouldn’t quite say whether the Cubs are looking for international pool money when making trades in July. “Maybe,” Epstein said about the possibility of acquiring more space via trade when asked by Sahadev Sharma. “It’s not a huge priority, but we have a strategy with respect to [international free agency], we’ll execute it. It doesn’t necessarily require us adding pool space.” Sounds like the right answer, whatever the approach is actually going to be. Given that pool space is so hard to value, I wouldn’t want the Cubs going out there and intimating that it’s worth more than a low level role player, or as a large deal throw-in.
  • Speaking of which, Ben Badler indicates, in response to a tweet about the Red Sox and Matt Garza (about which, more later), that a trade of international pool space could be implicated. That’s, of course, fine, but if the Cubs are dealing Garza, let’s hope pool space is a mere cherry on the top rather than the bulk of the return.
  • Troy Renck says the Rockies are among the teams interested in Cubs closer Kevin Gregg. The Rockies are still in the “scouting” phase, though, as they gather information before reading to make a move.

  • In a tweet that shocked a lot of folks yesterday, Nick Cafardo reported that three teams have interest in Carlos Marmol. Before you get too excited, that doesn’t necessarily mean that three teams want to trade for Carlos Marmol (let alone trade anything of value). It’s at least as likely that three teams are going to wait for Marmol to clear waivers and become a free agent, and then vie to sign Marmol to a minor league deal. The process will sort out over the next few days, but if the Cubs manage to get anything – I mean anything, including a tiny bit of salary relief – I will be very surprised and impressed. Marmol needs to re-establish himself before he can have real value, and it’s too late for that to happen with the Cubs. Hopefully he latches on somewhere with a little patience, and he can get back on track in a lower leverage role.
  • The Ricky Nolasco waiting game continues, with the Marlins reportedly sitting on a bunch offers, waiting for a team to “step up,” according to Juan C. Rodriguez. I still expect him to be the first (bigger) trade market domino.
  • Speaking of other pitchers on the market, Yovani Gallardo has a limited no-trade clause that allows him to block deals this year to the Orioles, Red Sox, Indians, Tigers, Astros, Angels, Yankees, Phillies, Pirates and Blue Jays. That’s a great list from the Cubs’ perspective, as there are many teams that are looking for starting pitching, and may find the Cubs’ options slightly easier to acquire.
  • Alex Liddi as the next waiver wire pickup? The 24-year-old utility man was just scuttled by the Mariners, and hasn’t done much in the bigs, but the minor league track record is interesting. The rub is that he doesn’t play anywhere in the middle, and the Cubs might not be looking for another corner infield/corner outfield type.

  • The Giants are not only looking for starting pitching, but also a right-handed outfield bat, per Buster Olney. Too bad Alfonso Soriano already blocked a deal to San Francisco last year.

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