stoveThere’s going to be a spate of will-he-won’t-he-start rumors leading up to tonight’s games, but, as I discussed earlier, I’m not so sure it’ll be about Matt Garza’s start tonight against the A’s. Instead, I’m thinking it’s going to be about Ricky Nolasco, the Marlins righty who was nearly dealt before his last start, and is scheduled to go again tonight. Because I believe that a Nolasco deal will strongly impact the market for Garza, it’s a story line to watch closely.

  • As of this moment, it looks like Nolasco will make his start, says Ken Rosenthal, and we’ll do this dance again in five days. Right now, sources tell Jayson Stark that the three teams in heaviest pursuit of Nolasco are the Dodgers, Rangers, and Rockies. If true, your rooting interest is for Nolasco to go to the Rockies, as they appear to be a poor fit as a trading partner for the Cubs and Garza. But Ken Rosenthal counters that the Rockies have lost interest in Nolasco after suffering some injuries of their own (presumably making them less confident about making a surprise run), and after the Marlins insisted on them taking on all of Nolasco’s salary. That said, even if Nolasco goes elsewhere in the NL West, it is such a winnable division with every team in competition that it could greatly increase the sense of urgency by other NL West teams to make a move (for example: acquiring Garza). In other words, it would be preferable for Nolasco to go to the Dodgers than the Rangers.
  • Buster Olney has said, ominously, that the Marlins are starting to adjust their asking price on Nolasco, reflecting a desire to move him quickly. While a Nolasco trade as soon as possible is likely a good thing for the Cubs’ efforts in the coming weeks (Nolasco is getting dealt no matter what, so you’d rather it was now, rather than later in the month when he’s more likely to compete with the Cubs’ market), the Cubs no doubt want to see the Marlins get a very nice return. Although comparables are more important in real estate than they are in baseball trades, it matters at the margins.
  • Ill-timed injuries don’t strike only the Cubs. The Twins have lost outfielder Josh Willingham for four to six weeks following arthroscopic knee surgery. He was shaping up to be one of the better right-handed outfield bats on the market, so his absence from that market (probably) could strengthen the Cubs’ position with respect to the suddenly hot-hitting Alfonso Soriano.
  • Also an ill-timed injury: White Sox reliever Jesse Crain, possibly the best right-handed reliever on the market, is currently dealing with “shoulder stiffness.” That will be a story to watch, as Crain is clear competition on the market for Kevin Gregg (though Crain is probably in a higher tier). Bruce Levine just tweeted that Crain is going to hit the DL with the injury, which could virtually take him off the market altogether.
  • Speaking of the White Sox and (the bullet before) right-handed outfield trade possibilities, Alex Rios might be the other best one out there. He’s got no-trade rights, and the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Royals, Astros and Athletics are the teams to which he can block trades, per Mark Gonzalez. There’s a little help there, potentially, if there ends up being overlap in the Cubs’ efforts to trade Soriano. Although he probably wouldn’t accept a trade to the Royals, Soriano would likely accept a deal to the Yankees if they came calling. Then again, so might Rios. Probably not much impact here.
  • I biffed on sharing this sooner, but BN’er jh03 transcribed a recent Jed Hoyer MLBN Radio interview over at the Message Board, and it definitely has a rumor-heavy bent.
  • Speaking of Hoyer, he reminded folks why sometimes trades don’t happen until the last minute, even if your team is clearly selling and even if a rental player is more valuable to his new team today than he would be four weeks from now (per CSN): “Everyone always looks at that question from a seller’s side. It also depends on the buyer’s side. Some teams want to wait until the very end to see if they’re in the race or not. And some teams clearly think they’re in the race early to where they want to solidify that position. Some of that is dependent on the other side deciding: ‘Hey, these are players we want and we want them back now.’ As opposed to: ‘Let’s wait and see what position we’re in on [July 31].’”
  • North Side Irish

    Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN 4m
    With Jesse Crain landing on the DL, an already thin crop of trade-market relievers gets even more thin. Kevin Gregg a standout in the group.

  • Tim

    Chris rusin optioned back to AAA. Strop and/or Gurrier joins bullpen?

    • Kenster

      they should both be joining the bullpen. we’ll see who else gets the boot. Most likely one the following: Camp, Rondon, Rodriguez
      Me hoping Camp gets DFA’d, if not then toss Rondon on the DL. With the stubborness of the FO im gonna guess they will try to sneak Rodriguez thru to the minors.

      • http://msn Sacko

        Is Rodriguez the guy we pick up from DFA? Has he pitched yet?

        • ssckelley

          Yes he has, and every time he threw the ball no one was sure where it would end up. He has some serious command issues.

          • Scotti

            Pet peeve but that would be “control issues.” Command is where a pitcher throws (or doesn’t) a pitch with consistency. For instance, a pitcher could have great command of his FB (very consistently throwing it in the upper 90’s with plus movement to boot) but zero control (never being able to place it).

            It’s gotten to the point where even SCOUTS were misusing the term (using them interchangeably). Baseball America finally has both command and control ratings for prospects now so maybe that will help.

        • Cyranojoe

          Yes, he has. I haven’t paid close attention, but I got the sense it was with middling effectiveness — hot fastball, some control issues, as advertised.

  • Adam

    I don’t see Nolasco at all as a comp for Matt Garza. Garza = Anibal Sanchez #s.

    Only once in his career has Nolasco finished with a below 4.48 ERA.

    • Jono

      Is it control years? Maybe Nolasco has a year or two left under his current contract, making him a similar value….I dont know, just thinking aloud

      • Adam

        A year older than Garza but will be a free agent after the year. Makes a little bit more money than Garza too.

    • Brett

      “A comparable” (the noun version, term of art) is not the same thing as “comparable” (the adjective in the common usage). The former is simply a measuring stick in the same market as your asset.

      Garza is inarguably more valuable. But Nolasco is a very close comp in this market from which you can infer things about Garza’s value after Nolasco is traded.

      • Rich H

        I think Nolasco sets the floor of any trade. If it is a strait money deal with garbage prospects we are in trouble as far as value for Garza is concerned.

  • Chad

    The samardzija comment at the end is an interesting one for sure. Look out. Wood and Jacskon fighting for “ace” determination next spring. haha.

    • Chad

      Talking about the Hoyer interview and what the radio hosts said after the interview was over about Shark likely being traded.

  • North Side Irish

    MLB Trade Rumors ‏@mlbtraderumors 1m
    Rangers To Sign Manny Ramirez #mlb


  • Rudy

    OT: Wow! I just got 4 tickets to the Iowa Cubs game tonight in the very last section they had available and they had to convert sections from GA to assigned seating. They are going to sell out 3 hours before game time!

    • Cheese Chad

      Big time fireworks because Iowa generally does not sell out games despite being a very fun atmosphere. Enjoy!

  • Jay

    I’ve given up hope of ever being rid of Soriano. Between his infrequent hot streaks and his refusal to go to a winning team merely because of the weather (last year) I’d be surprised to see any team take him unless we basically gave him to them for no useful prospect and ate most of the salary in the process which I’m sure Jed and Theo ain’t gonna do. If we’re going to be on the hook for most/all of his salary and we can’t get a useful body for the farm by dealing him, he may as well wander around in LF for us for next year as well, since we’re not winning anything then either.

    • hansman1982

      “I’ve given up hope of ever being rid of Soriano.”

      Why? By the end of the year he will probably, once again, be a LF-average bat.

      “I’d be surprised to see any team take him unless we basically gave him to them for no useful prospect and ate most of the salary in the process which I’m sure Jed and Theo ain’t gonna do.”

      This is where we have been at for the past 18 months.

  • Dustin S

    Some of the comments Shark made after the trade were a bit pointed. It’s kind of expected since he’s so competitive, but I was surprised at how vocal he was about being unhappy about Feldman and Clevenger being traded. There’s still a good chance they keep him, but I think the meter on the odds of Samardzija being traded probably inched up a little.

    • willis

      Where did you see his comments? I’ve been busy as hell with family and wrapping up work I haven’t been able to dive into much. I’d love to hear what he said.

      • Cyranojoe

        Found some quotes here. I’d say they’re very fair for any player to say; would much rather this than a shrug:

        “I don’t think this team improves by trading Scott Feldman,” Samardzija told the Chicago Tribune. “He was one of our better pitchers. He’s thrown a lot of innings, a solid dude, a solid guy in the clubhouse.

        “It’s a shame to see him go, and the same with Clevenger. A great dude to have around, a great teammate who played the game hard and played the right way. It’s unfortunate. Just hope the guys they get in return are comparable and bring the same attitude to the field every day that those guys brought.”

  • North Side Irish

    Jesse Sanchez ‏@JesseSanchezMLB 4m
    #Cubs have added another int’l prospect: Catcher Johan Matos for $270K. Overall, they’ve added 4 teens & remain favorites for Eloy Jimenez.

    Not a math guy, so no clue how much pool money the Cubs have left…

    • JB88

      Can I just say, North Side Irish, that I truly appreciate your contributions to this site. I don’t have time to follow Twitter religiously during the work day, so it is a huge convenience to stop by here and look for your posts. Very much appreciated!

      • North Side Irish

        Thanks man…I’m just glad to have an outlet for my Twitter addiction…

        • X the Cubs Fan

          It is appreciated

    • cubchymyst

      Going off the site Kyle posted earlier today, the Cubs now have 1.9M in their international pool left and a little over 2.1M if they use the full 5% overage. The estimates I saw had Eloy going for around 2.5M so I wonder if there is another small trade for cap space coming, but it was reported that he sign for less to be with the Cubs.

      • X the Cubs Fan

        I don’t remember what website maybe it was the one Kyle posted but I saw the Cubs made this signing earlier, like yesterday.

        • DarthHater

          No. “Reportedly decides to sign with the Cubs” is not equivalent to “has signed with the Cubs”

          • cubchymyst

            That would be correct, got a head of myself.

        • X the Cubs Fan

          I meant Mataos

      • DarthHater

        If that’s right, it seems like that cap space we sent to LAD in the Marmol trade would come in handy right about now. It’s a real head scratcher.

    • cubsin

      Only $2,179,465 left for Jimenez, so another trade for IFA slots is coming soon.

  • Cheese Chad

    Hey Brett, any chance of having bleachernation as a mobile app?

    • Austin

      Yea I’d probably fork over $0.99 for an app for the site if you made one.

  • This old cub

    Saw I-cubs vs. Memphis,Cubs win 4-2, coming from behind. Junior Lake is quite the specimen very impressive in person, runs like the wind. Wonder if Brian Schlitter is candidate for our Pen. He is doing a good job of closing since Parker was promoted to Chicago.

  • kenster

    Tony Campana leading off for ARZ tonight lol… good luck man

  • kenster

    Cubs dfa camp!! Finally!

  • Die hard

    Send down Sveum and bring up whomever to manage

  • Dshea

    I know this was probably discussed ad nauseum in previous posts, but why not sign Garza (who is 29) to a deal for 3-4 years? Are they afraid of his injury history? Sounds like that ship has sailed…

    • gocatsgo2003

      Long story short: It’s near-consensus that this would be the best outcome, but Garza is looking for both more money and more years than the Cubs are willing to offer (perhaps because of his injury history). As such, the best course of action for the long-term success of the organization is to maximize the return in trade.