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stoveJuly has arrived! That means it’s only slightly less insane that the rumor mill is churning as aggressively as it is. Speaking of rumors, don’t forget to get ready for this year’s BN Blogathon, which will have me sleep-deprived for up to 36 hours on July 30 and 31. Check out the details here, and how you can help out a great cause!

  • The chances that the Cubs make a move before the All-Star Break (July 12)? I’d have pegged it at 50%, and Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein – who is in a slightly better position than I to know – put it largely the same way. “Judging by the amount of calls that are going on, I would say the number of pieces we potentially have available, and the opportunities that might present themselves for us to get better, yeah, I’d say 50/50,” Epstein told the media, per Cubs.com, when asked about a pre-All-Star Break deal. I find Epstein’s comment more interesting for the candid confirmation that the Cubs are going to sell-sell-sell with a potentially large number of pieces. No, it isn’t a surprise, but it’s another in a long line of frank admissions from this front office, and it is appreciated.
  • When it comes to making a deal this far in advance of the Trade Deadline, as we’ve discussed, the holdup isn’t the Cubs’ unwillingness to make a move (obviously). But to trade a key chip this early, the Cubs would have to be bowled over. Why? For two primary reasons: (1) the market of affirmative buyers has not yet fully developed, so the Cubs would be selling now without knowing how much more they could have gotten later; and (2) the buyer is getting an extra month of use of the player. The reason we don’t see deals early, generally-speaking, is because Number One is a much more powerful consideration than Number Two. Yes, that extra month drives up the price of a player, but what really generates a great return is the competition that exists in bidding for a limited commodity. When Matt Garza, for example, is gone, he’s gone. As more teams decide they need a Matt Garza, the price artificially inflates (and the effect is even more pronounced as the Deadline approaches, because the window to land your Garza is shrinking). So, circling back, that’s why the Cubs aren’t about to deal one of their best pieces this early unless the return is so cat’s pajamas that there cannot be any regret later. (Yes, you risk injury or ineffectiveness, but, with expiring contracts, the risk is probably worth it. I’ll concede that the risk of injury or a fall-off in performance has to be a part of the timing calculus, as well as not wanting to compete with your own merchandise at the Deadline. But I’m getting far afield here.)
  • Ken Rosenthal says the Cubs are “all but certain” to deal Matt Garza, Scott Feldman and Kevin Gregg (I’d agree), but are less inclined to move outfielders David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz, thanks mostly to the Cubs’ relatively cheap control remaining for 2014. As I’ve said many times before about the Cubs’ outfield situation, without a prospect emerging as a clear outfield replacement for 2014, the Cubs could go into next season having to replace every single outfield position if they were to deal all of Alfonso Soriano, DeJesus and Schierholtz. Guys like Ryan Sweeney (injured and a free agent) and Brian Bogusevic are interesting pieces to hang onto, but they aren’t really ideal candidates to be a lock for a starting job out of the gate in 2014 (if the Cubs hope to compete next year, anyway). So, against that backdrop, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Cubs hang onto one or both of Schierholtz and DeJesus. The latter is currently rehabbing a shoulder strain, but could be back in time for the Deadline, and the former is killing the ball in a platoon role. They’ve got value, but the Cubs aren’t going to deal them unless that trade value exceeds their value to the Cubs in 2014 (which, because of the contracts and the organizational state, is rather high).
  • Speaking of Schierholtz’s trade value, though, Nick Cafardo says there has already been a lot of interest in him so far this year. He makes just $2.25 million this year, and has one year of arbitration left next year. When utilized as the Cubs have (the right-handed portion of a platoon), he can be exceedingly valuable, especially if the power uptick this year is legit. He plays good defense in right field, runs the bases well (even if he’s not a fast guy), and he can hit. Considering the contract status, there’s a lot of value there – whether it is to the Cubs, or to a potential trade partner.
  • Jon Heyman offers a trade season primer, with the teams that will sell, the teams that might sell, the players that will go, the players that might go, etc. It’s a fun primer, and the Cubs are heavily, heavily represented. An interesting name that pops up frequently is Scott Hairston, the Cubs’ right-handed outfield bench bat who is suffering from a severe case of BABIP-induced bad-luck-itis. Perhaps other teams see through the negative variance and recognize him for what he is: a very capable bench bat and fill-in starter who has, historically crushed lefties. He’s on a favorable contract (two years and $5 million), but his value simply has to be down from where it was after his surprisingly good 2012 season. Although I wouldn’t put it past the Cubs dealing Hairston – or a team having interest in adding him – his name is not one I’d expect you to hear too much over the next month. I think it’s more likely that the Cubs will hope for a rebound in the second half (well, not even a “rebound” – just a positive regression) before shopping him in the offseason or gladly using him off the bench again in 2014.
  • Speaking of Heyman, he implied in a tweet today (and Chris Cotillo flat out said) that the Cubs may actually be getting interest in Carlos Marmol, who is currently in DFA limbo. Like, actual trade interest. I still strongly suspect that Marmol will end up being released before signing on with another team. But stranger things have happened. If the Cubs did pull off a trade involving Marmol, you need to understand that the return will not be particularly notable. Even getting the fringiest of fringe prospects would be a jaw-dropper.
  • Cuban free agent starter Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is a free agent to MLB, and the final step in his availability to teams is in process, per Jesse Sanchez. The US Government is dealing with his unblocking license, which could come through as early as this week. The 26-year-old righty, in whom the Cubs are interested, is expected to sign quickly after he’s unblocked.
  • An involved scout tells George A. King what we’ve been hearing for days – it “looks like the Dodgers” will land Gonzalez. Yes, the Cubs are interested, but it’s hard to see them – or anyone – outbidding the Dodgers if they’re all in. Still, I doubt the Cubs would have sent so many scouts to watch Gonzalez’s last start in Mexico on Friday if they didn’t feel they had any chance of signing him.
  • Troy Renck says the Rockies are interested in Scott Feldman and Kevin Gregg. I discussed their interest in Matt Garza this morning, though the fit there is harder to see than with Feldman and/or Gregg, where the expected prospect return is lower.
  • jh03

    I’d like to see Scott Feldman dealt soon. I’m just scared he’ll start to fall off and lose value…

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    interesting Rick Telander article in the Sun Times just now summer bummer

  • Austin8466

    Couldn’t the Rockies offer up Jonathan Gray? I mean, sure, he’s a little ways away from being in the Majors, but he’s an elite prospect that we almost drafted.

    • jh03

      No, they couldn’t. He’s not eligable to be traded until next years draft.

      • jh03

        eligible*

      • Austin8466

        Didn’t know that rule. Thank you.

        • jh03

          No problem.

    • Carew

      I don’t think he can be traded until next year

  • TheoHoyer

    Could it be possible the Cubs also went all in on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez?

  • cerambam

    I wouldn’t mind keeping both of Dejesus and Shierholtz. It seems, as Brett said, that the value to the cubs will exceed the potential return.

    Best Case Scenario (for a competitive 2014 that is), is that the cubs sign two good outfielders this off-season (Soo Choo and Elsbury maybe) while platooning the lefty hitting Shierholtz with the righty hitting Dejesus.

    In the most recent Podcast, Brett and Sahadev mentioned that its time to start targeting trades that feature 1 really good prospect as opposed to the several high-ceiling/floor types that Shierholtz/Dejesus are likely to return (should they not be packaged along with someone).

    • Austin8466

      If we want to be competitive in 2014, it’s also time to start looking at trades that will make us better in the very near future and not in 2015 or 2016 as with some of the prospects we landed last season. We need to look for guys that will be competing to make the roster next spring.

    • Willard “Mitt” Romney

      Ummmmm……..D.D is a lefty…….

      • bbmoney

        And of all 4 of those lefty of’ers, Choo is the one that most needs a platoon partner. Rakes against righties but his splits are comical.

        • cerambam

          Scott Baker and Shierholtz are lefty crushers (historically) and Choo and Elsbury are righty crushers.

          • cerambam

            I 100% misspoke and now im commenting way too much. Shierholtz hits righties my bad.

          • THEOlogical

            Never knew SCOTT Baker could hit and hit lefties so well!?!

      • cerambam

        I meant he hits righties dood

        • cerambam

          He = Dejesus hits righties

        • Noah

          The statement still doesn’t make sense, because I have no idea why you’d have Schierholtz hitting against left handed pitching instead of right handed pitching. Schierholtz is terrible against LHPs (.217/.296/.217) but has mashed right handed pitching this year (.294/.341/.572).

          • Jay

            Even with those splits, I’d still start him every day rather than give any at bats to Hairston. I just don’t see anyone giving us anything for Shierz even close to what his worth is to us.

    • brickhouse

      Dejesus is a left handed hitting OF and not a righty. The cubs will not sign both Choo & Elsbury.

  • Chad

    If Schierholtz or Dejesus are dealt I hope it is in a package deal with Gregg or Feldman. That would increase the odds of getting a high end prospect, not just a few good ones with potential to be pretty good, but close to a top 5 system prospect.

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    Feldman & Gregg:

    Rockies just brought up OF Corey Dickerson to the bigs. He’s 24, raked in all stops, good sabermetric numbers (walks), and plays LF/RF.

    Add in 2 SPs, maybe Eddie Butler, Chad Bettis (had shoulder problems -maybe not), or LHP Jayson Aquino (who scouts really like his change at 19 to go with a low 90s FB).

    Sure to get the flames!
    Then, whomever calls for Sheirholtz or DeJesus (SF, maybe) can look for another SP, AA or above.

    Just ideas – which when one creates them – it is easier to criticize than it is to offer constructive counter ideas.

    Let the flames begin!

    • Rebuilding

      I’m all for Dickerson. He can play all three OF spots and understands the strike zone. Has put up numbers everywhere he has been

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        Well, thanks for the vote of approval.

        What I wouldn’t give to be the fly on the wall during these conversations.

        But 30 days remain (4EST 7/31) and this is the crucial moment to achieving a contender by 2016. Patience is a virtue; but aggressiveness is rewarded too.

      • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

        I’ve always said he’d be a good fit for the Cubs. He’s got Gonzalez, Fowler, and Cuddyer blocking him.

        • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

          Maybe the FO can make it work.

          Here’s to hoping the NL West stays tight.

          LA has AA CF Joc Pederson that intrigues, and their outfield situation is more set in stone than Colorado’s is with 55 million + on Kemp, Ethier, Crawford, and Puig. And the ask price could be less – or they will exploit that piece for SP. (Not saying we NEED more OFs, but talent is talent when had at a good price.)

          • Steve124

            I believe we do need outfielders. In my opinion, we will most likely trade soriano and either dejesus or schierholtz this offseason. Almora and Soler are still years away.

            • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

              Tru Dat.
              I am curious to the composition of our trades. It will tell me where they plan to go next – we hope.

  • Dale Jr

    Bring on the fire!, Keep em comeing

  • Timmy

    There’s a certain pleasure in burning down your home after you crap in your bed.

    And the past couple seasons have been some serious crap. Get ready for the team to be a lot worse for the next couple years even than they’ve been.

    By year 4 Theo will have amassed an average loss ration of 90-100 games a year with the second or third highest potential payroll in the NL.

    • TheoHoyer

      I don’t think you understand what a rebuild is.

      • TWC

        He may or may not, but he certainly understands what trolling is.

  • Kyle

    I have trouble believing that Matt Garza does not already have a critical mass of buyers, enough to drive the price to wherever it’s going to go in the next few weeks, without needing for the Blue Jays or their ilk to decide that they are buyers and jump in.

    The front office has a particularly stringent history with regards to trades, preferring to hold on to assets and risk serious depreciation over accepting the best deal on the table. It’s burned them a few times already, notably Garza and Soriano last year.

    They are one Matt Garza elbow twinge from being burned by it yet again.

    • When the Music’s Over

      Our front office members are heros. Sometimes is works sometimes it doesn’t. When it works, they’re of course smarter than everyone in the entire world. When it doesn’t work, it’s of course bad luck that they couldn’t have possibly predicted.

    • http://www.hookersorcake.com Hookers or Cake

      Didn’t Soriano reject trades last year? Was there a trade on the table that he accepted? That the Cubs lost on due to trying to drive up price?
      I think the market kinda decides when you deal. I’m sure if the Cubs got what they felt was a good price for Garza they’d pull the trigger. What deals were there last year? Or is it just “we shoulda dealt him” hindsight speculation.

      • Kyle

        He did reject one trade, but there have been other discussions over the last year that all ended with the Cubs (apparently) deciding they weren’t being offered enough.

        I’m not going to go back over every rumor that came up for Garza, but this isn’t hindsight, I was arguing in February of 2012 that ST was the best time to trade him rather than wait and risk.

        The market doesn’t decide when you deal, you do. You can either accept what the market is offering or set a price and wait to see if the market meets it. The Cubs have been choosing the latter path and have gotten less than they could have several times because of it.

        • Rebuilding

          I’m not sure how much more of a market there is to develop. I think the teams that are going for it are all pretty well defined. Even teams that might normally be on the fence based on the standings (Blue Jays, Dodgers) pushed their chips all in before the season so they are buyers. This year it seems the longer you wait the more likely it is for a team to change their mind (Padres). Everyone in the NL West and AL East is in. So are the A’s, Rangers, Angels, Tigers, Indians, Cardinals, Reds, Pirates, Braves and Nationals. The only team that is maybe on the fence is KC?

        • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

          OMG! KYLE YOU ARE RIGHT! WE SHOULD TRADE EVERYONE AT THEIR PEAK VALUE RIGHT BEFORE THEY GET INJURED. YOU ARE A GENIUS! CALL THEO EVERYONE! KYLE FIGURED IT OUT!
          PLUS PLUS! WE SHOULD TRADED SORIANO FOR GARY BROWN!

          • YourResidentJag

            Stop yelling. And Kyle points are valid because some of thought the same at the time. Thank you.

            • Bric

              Oh, come on Jag, let him yell. I think it’s kinda funny. Hey Hooker- TYPE LOUDER! I CAN”T HEAR YOU YET AND I HAVE MY SOUND ALL THE WAY UP! (see, it’s kinds funny).

              • YourResidentJag

                :)

          • Alex S.

            That last sentence, “WE SHOULD TRADED SORIANO FOR GARY BROWN!” really reminded me of last year’s “They don’t did a trade”

            You wouldn’t happen to be Randall Delgado, would you?

            • Bric

              He can’t hear you, he’s typing behind a really thick window.

    • X the Cubs fan

      the blue jays are a team we want to start winning because they have pieces that we would want

      • Crockett

        Agree. They’d be ideal from whom they have, but I think that AA would be a tougher GM to deal with in a situation like this than Jon Daniels, etc.

  • Kyle

    You don’t see the progress other do

    • cerambam

      WHICH ONE DO I SHOOT I DONT KNOW WHO THE REAL KYLE IS?!?!?!

      Quick! What are your thoughts on competing on two parallel fronts!?

  • Rich

    Hey guys…if you follow Brett on twitter you already know..
    Kaplan on WGN tonight..New show…President Theo is on 8:10..

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    I think Garza’s most likely destinations are the Ranger, Padres, or Red Sox.

    4 deals that IMO would be no brainers.(especially the last two)

    Garza and Soriano to Texas for Perez, Jackson, and Font
    Garza to San Diego for Fried, Kelly, and Erlin
    Garza and Soriano to Boston for Bogaerts and Ranaudo

    (If the Cubs could some how trade for Bogaerts)
    Castro to the Dodgers for Lee, Reed, Withrow, Stripling, and Pederson

    • Crockett

      The deals you mention to the Red Sox and Padres are definitely out of the picture. I could see the Rangers making a deal similar to that if we include an OF like DeJesus (maybe Soriano depending on if he gets hot next two weeks).

      I would do that Castro deal right now. I like Castro and I think he’s going to “figure it out” but that return is crazy.

      • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

        I would do the Castro deal in heartbeat as well but only if we had a guy like Bogaerts in the wings. I don’t trust Baez, Alcantara, or any other SS we got in our farm. I like those two but they will definitely end up changing positions.

    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

      Soriano is not needed in Boston – as long as David Ortiz handles a bat, and can sometimes pick up a glove and trot to first.

      Castro? Now that is intriguing. Gotta be BLOWN away. (I am not a fan of his, but…hey if someone has that the power to sell his current struggles and give max value back – then yes, he’s in the field of play. But Neither franchise’s GM involved could live with disaster of that trade going 1-sided.)

      But Shark was bantered…around.

      • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

        Soriano could play a solid left at Fenway. He would also be an upgrade over Gomes or whoever they trot out their.

        • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

          Nevermind, I take that back Jason, you’re right. Nava has played very well in left for Boston this year and other then Gomes, Soriano wouldn’t be much of an upgrade over what they already have. Unless an injury occurs Soriano doesn’t fit Boston at all.

          • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

            No problem. Shit I lost track of players, its a universe of 750 + 4000 minors + 1200 draft prospects. No one can keep them all straight – aside from Rainman, definitely 246.

  • Crockett

    Make. Trades. Now.

    Seriously – my summer has sucked and will continue to suck. Too much work and too many spinal surgeries I’m recovering from. The Cubs making trades is all that is sustaining me.

    TRADE NOW.

    • Cyranojoe

      LOL I’ve had a good summer and I’m feeling the same. TRADE NOW! BEAT DRUMS! TRADE NOW! Hahaha…

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    Theo and Jed got some sort of return on Tony Campana, didn’t they? Chris’ remarks don’t seem that unlikely. Kudos to you Brett for giving him the s/o too.

  • DALEARES

    Who do the cubs replace Garza, Feldman and Gregg with? Who is ready in the minors?

    As for the outfield… dump Alfonso Soriano and Hairston keep DeJesus, Schierholtz, Sweeney and Bogusevic.

    • Crockett

      Does it matter for 2013? You’re trying to get as high a pick as possible this year.

      Rusin/Raley/Loux could get starts the remainder of the year. Maybe Moscoso.

      There are plenty of names in AAA to replace two SP if/until Baker is ready in August.

    • Jay

      Can’t dump Soriano if A) no one wants him because he’s had a crap year so far or B) he blocks a trade like he did last year.

      • Cyranojoe

        Well, he can be DFA’d, but he hasn’t deserved that this year, and what kind of message would that send to veteran players, not to mention the guys in the dugout who (we’re told) look up to him?

        • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

          You worry to much, FO management needs to send a message DFA’d him if needed. The Henry way is over, the Cubs paid the man good money I hope he shows some respect and leaves when traded. Sori, is consuming to much Cub FO resources, he does not fit in any more. I for one see his team leadership skills as average at best.

    • cms0101

      Well, Villanueva can move to the rotation. Baker might be available in August to take a spot too. Hopefully they get at least one piece that is major league ready, but if not, you could always bring up Rusin or Raley to fill the 5th starter spot. They might even try Cabrera from AA now that he’s stretched out. Gregg was a nice/lucky find, but he’s certainly replaceable. If they sell high on him now, I’d be fine watching the waiver wire roulette that ensues the rest of this season to fill his slot.

  • North Side Irish

    Bernie Pleskoff ‏@BerniePleskoff 3s
    Might Carlos Marmol become a member of the #Dodgers? That’s the word.

    They really do want all the players…

    • DarthHater

      Let’s see if they sign Ian Stewart…

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        Ha Ha! That would be icing on the cake! Dodgers do have a 25-man roster, right?

    • JBarnes

      Ahhh just beat me to it

  • JBarnes

    MLBTRADERUMORS reporting Cubs/Dodgers are close to a Marmol trade. No names given but says the Dodgers may be taking some of the salary he’s owed.

    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

      They brought up Carlos Marmol in yesterday game: Jose Dominguez is Carlos Marmol on steroids – 100MPH, has a nasty change, but NO idea where he’s throwing it. But got out those Phillies….they don’t need Marmol, but please take him.

    • Rcleven

      I can see the trade now. PTNL or cash. and salary relief.

      • nkniacc13

        whatever works

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    One thing that is going for the Cubs: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ah4PW47PiAi-dEhlQ2VhNHpQQWhSVzh0dGlzUEtkQXc&output=html

    After losing trade/FA/DFA Garza, Marmol, Feldman, Baker, poss. Schierholtz, Camp, Navarro, Russell (possibly) too – we have in the neighborhood of 50 million dropping off the books. Figure $10 million (hopefully) in arbitration (Shark, Wood, Valbuena, Barney), leaving the Cubs 40 million to add/ extend Shark mid 2014?

    Lose Soriano, that instantly puts us back looking for a piece that fits.

    Get some young prospects, than stick, we can still add 3-4 mid-top tier FAs for 3-5 years, if we choose that route. Though it looks like an icky class. (Sadly, the Cubs have the younger SP FA with Garza and Feldman at 30. Most of the rest are 32-35+, not long term buys IMHO.)

  • Cyranojoe

    Anybody see this article about the top trade targets by position? HYSTERICAL! Scroll down to Right Field for a good old Cubbie favorite…

    http://mlb.si.com/2013/07/01/trade-deadline-watch-top-targets-at-each-position/?sct=hp_t13_a6&eref=sihp

    Spoiler Alert:

    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .

    Marlon Byrd!????

  • kdennis22

    Any chance they try to pickup Alex Liddi from Seatle? They DFA him a few days ago. Seems like the kind of player Theo and Jed have been picking up. Young with some upside if he can put it all together

  • Voice of Reason

    Theo and Jed, will u two trade Garza before he ever throws another pitch as a cub?

    You can’t be waiting for his stock to rise more? He is more valuable right now as he can pitch the entire month of July for a contender. Reference the cc sabathia trade from the Indians to the brewers.

    Also, let’s not forget that the Garza kid is coming off an injury that put him on the shelf for more than a start or two.

    If he has to leave his next start or another future cub start early it pushes his value way down and puts other starters ahead of him. His value will not get higher it can only go lower.

    Let’s not let the billy goat curse come into play again. Trade Garza for some future star or stars and be done with it so you two can move on to your next trade to help rebuild.

    Thanks!

    • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

      Agree, trade him now!

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    • Jed Jam Band

      THIS is comedy gold.

    • Chris

      Inspiring. Just canceled my trip to Caesars Palace buffet and will bake some yams.

    • Rebuilding

      Tell me more…I’m intrigued

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