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american flag baseballA Happy Fourth of July to you and to America. Hopefully you’re taking in some friend and family time, eating some hot dogs and apple pie, and watching some fireworks and parades.

  • The Cubs are going to need a starter on Sunday, since they optioned Chris Rusin back down to Iowa after his spot start on Tuesday. Unless there’s an injury (Hector Rondon?), he can’t be called back up for 10 days. Since Carlos Villanueva is being stretched back out, he would be the logical choice to just move back into the rotation, if he’s ready. But Bruce Miles says “word out of Oakland” is that it won’t be Villanueva on Sunday (or Jake Arrieta, for that matter), because he probably won’t be ready yet. In that case, absent the Rondon injury dance suggested by that parenthetical, who gets the start? Do the Cubs call up another AAA’er for a spot start? Brooks Raley, if they don’t want to make a 40-man move? Do the Cubs simply expect that another move to be made in the next couple days, obviate the need to declare anything today?
  • Bruce wonders if the Cubs could decide to give Kyle Hendricks a shot. The AA starter has pitched better than any Cubs pitching prospect this year at AA or AAA (or maybe any other level), and was interestingly pulled after just five innings on Tuesday (88 pitches, though). Maybe there was already some planning in the works for a call-up for his next start? I’d be surprised if it was Hendricks, given that he’s pitched only a half season above High-A and isn’t an overpowering type who can just rear back and throw. Fun to think about, though. Adding Hendricks to the rotation would require a 40-man roster move.
  • Speaking of the rotation and possible moves, Matt Garza was fantastic once again last night – and, this time, against a good team. “That was as good as I’ve seen him in two years, especially against seven left-handers in the lineup,” Dale Sveum said of Garza’s performance, per Cubs.com. “His command of his fastball down and away [was sharp]. He had the extra velocity when he needed it, first-pitch strikes, you can go on and on. That was as impressive as you’re going to get.” Garza wasn’t just beating up on the Astros or Brewers or Mariners this time around.
  • As for Garza, he got the same trade rumor questions after the game, and he offered his stock answer. “Six, seven years, my name has been thrown around,” he said, per Cubs.com. “Until my phone rings, I’m going to be a Cub and I’m going to stay a Cub. We’ll see …. I’m just pitching and not even worrying about anything. I’m just worried about the next five days. I’ve got the White Sox in the next five days.” I’m not exaggerating when I say that he says the exact same thing every time he’s asked … which is fine. Garza has allowed just three earned runs in his last 30 innings, striking out 28 and walking 8. He been good.
  • Scott Feldman pitched very well in his Oriole debut last night, so, good for him, good for them.
  • Javier Baez is the Cubs’ Player of the Month for June, and Chris Rusin is the Pitcher of the Month for June. They did awesome things in the past month, and they have now been recognized.
  • If you’re hanging out waiting for the fireworks today, might I suggest you check out the latest episode of the BN Podcast if you haven’t? We had Keith Law on the show, and he talked about all kinds of awesome Cubs-related things. Give it a listen.
  • In conclusion, Cubs pitching prospect Rob Zastryzny, the team’s second round pick this year, tweets funny things on Twitter:

  • Oswego chris

    If Villanueva goes into the rotation, and Arrieta comes up…with Wood, Smardzija, and Jackson…I don’t think you will see the same post trade collapse like we did last year…that’s not a great rotation, but it can probably prevent 100 losses…

    I am going to predict Arrieta will be an NL success…there is such a difference in the line ups in most cases…

  • Jason

    I’d still like to see an extension with Garza. I know he wants to get his big boy dollars but he’s a stud and his best days are still in front of him. if we do trade him the haul better have a couple good pitching prospects with at least his potential. I still say we can sign him after the season since we won’t have to pay a draft pick like other teams will have to

    • sven-erik312

      Good comments Jason. Garza ia the same age as Samardzija, it’s hard for me to understand why they’d want to trade him. It would have to be a GREAT deal for the Cubs to let him go. I don’t see the Cubs as competetive next year either. I don’t see the power hitters that they have picked up in the low minors as being ready in the next two years. Rush them up to Chicago too soon, it will ruin their careers, at least their careers in Chicago and they’ll have to start over somewhere else. In 3 years, it will be time and then there should be about 2 good years left in Garza and Samardzija. If they keep Samardzija , they should keep Garza.

      • nkniacc13

        Garza is a FA after year Shark is under team control for 2 more years that’s why they keep Shark and are likely to move Garza at this time.

        • X the Cubs Fan

          If we can’t extend Shark soon we’re going to have to trade him.

          • Die hard

            No loss… He’s more of a head case than Zambrano

            • baldtaxguy

              Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but your’s is simply incorrect on this point, and its difficult to believe that even you believe this. I would think you want to represent something other than zero, or negative, sense. Please reboot.

            • DarthHater

              Sheesh, every time I think you have reached the nadir of spewing utterly fabricated rat feces, you prove me wrong.

              • Die hard

                Ur comfort zone — being wrong

                • DarthHater

                  Okay. Cite one speck of evidence to support your statement that Samardzija is more of a head case than Zambrano. And please, make it something that you didn’t pick out of your stool this morning.

                  • wvcubsfan

                    Who else other than a head case would have hair like that?

                    He went to Notre Dame?

                    He continues to try to grow facial hair even though he can’t?

                    All I’ve got.

                    • DarthHater

                      Hmm, most of my wife’s family went to Notre Dame and they’re all head cases, so maybe you’re onto something… :-P

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    Can we submit our guesses in advance! (I’m torn between the hair or that Jeff is what people DieHard’s age called “a papist.”)

                    :-)

    • ssckelley

      I would agree with you but Garza has made it obvious he wants to test the free agent market. The Cubs are in a situation if they do not trade him then all they will get is a compensation draft pick if he signs with another team.

      If the Cubs want him back they can bid on him after the season is over, they still get prospects for him and signing him in free agency will not even cost them a draft pick.

  • waittilthisyear

    Zastryzny. funny name, funny dude. happy 4th everyone, go America

    • Die hard

      Careful– May wake to find the Double Z brand on your rump

  • Steve123

    How about a nice Fourth of July trade with the Athletics. I really like their farm and they have a few needs. If nothing else I see a fit for a backup infielder. Ransom for that international money we need??

    • cubzfan

      It would be interesting if the reason the Cubs didn’t deal Garza before this start was that the A’s wanted to see him up close, and last night he convinced them to acquire him. Funnier things have happened in baseball.

      • Die hard

        Would also be interesting if Sveum wanted to show that he can manage pitchers… Sveum auditioning too

        • gocatsgo2003

          You do know that “managing pitchers” doesn’t just mean “leave them in there,” yeah?

  • fortyonenorth

    Given Garza’s dominance, one has to wonder about an off-season trade for Price or whomever. Why give-up prospects AND pay a kings-ransom, when the Cubs could keep Garza in the fold simply paying paying the ransom?

    • Oswego chris

      I have always favored an extension but as said in previous post those talks have gone nowhere…I have seen that he wants 5 or 6 years…if you could get him for a bit more than ejackson money it would be great…

      Trust that if we don’t get the offer comparable to the draft pick we would get by just offering him a new deal after the season, he won’t be traded…

  • North Side Irish

    Phil Rogers (@ChiTribRogers) tweeted at 10:21 AM on Thu, Jul 04, 2013:
    Nothing confirmed but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Cubs land RHP Jen-Ho Tseng, who pitched for Taiwan in the WBC. Possible gamble.

    • nkniacc13

      Interesting

    • Die hard

      If true just another example of why MLB needs to expand internationally and contract domestically

      • TWC

        Has the dish gone out at the nursing home, Gramps? ‘Cause you seem to be particularly active and agitated of late.

        • Die hard

          Lots to discuss and little time left to save the game in general and Cubs in particular

    • North Side Irish

      Maybe they are just going to take the penalty next year…

      • nkniacc13

        I can’t see a team like the Cubs who have said they want to build thru the farm system just blowing a chance next year of signing any of the top guys especially when their bonus pool will be high

        • North Side Irish

          With a big pool and a $250k max, Cubs could be doing the opposite next year and trading excess pool money for prospects. Or signing a ton of low dollar lottery tickets to increase their odds of hitting on one.

        • socalicubsfan

          Maybe they’re hearing the international rules will change… I know the International Draft was a no go this time around, but does anyone know if/when owners would reconsider?
          I don’t think the FO really minds if the Cubs miss out on adding a small crop next year (apparently not as talented as this year’s group) so long as they are building waves and waves of talent from this year’s group. Not like all these kids are going to develop on the same timeline…. so sitting out a year and getting diamond in the rough types next year might be a better idea.
          Let’s add some MiLB talent with Garza and Gregg!

    • X the Cubs Fan

      That would be big.

  • Ivy Walls

    I suspect that Garza was auditioned for a few suitors and that they showed him even keeping him in through the 8th inning when they had relievers warmed up to show he is ready and healthy. This trade will include $$ for international salary slot as well as prospects and possibly include a Cubs minor leaguer throw in for the $$.

    I suspect one of the prospects will replace Garza in the rotation. That is what the plan appears to be

    • nkniacc13

      I cant see a Garza deal getting IFA$ I can see a Gregg deal but Garza as your biggest Chip I can’t

      • gocatsgo2003

        Why not? If, for instance, you are in discussions with a team that is offering four prospects for Garza, it only makes sense to take IFA money instead of the fourth prospect if you value an IFA more than that fourth prospect and the money will allow you to sign him.

  • Earl Cunningham

    Either Martin Perez or Allen Webster can step right into his spot.

    • socalicubsfan

      Perez (Texas) or Webster (Boston) or Fried (SD) or Skaggs or Delgado (ARZ) OR… what say you?

      • gocatsgo2003

        Sure.

    • WNebCub

      that would be awesome. Webster made progress last start after being on the shuttle bus for parts of the season. Perez has been legit last two starts after being lights out in the PCL for about a month. he’s still young.

  • kenster

    Hey that’s what I said! Lol. Rondon will get a mystery injury so Rusin can come back up. With Cano being DFA’d doesn’t that open up a spot? or did I miss something?

  • muley

    Offseason trades for big names…? Not going to happen.. I know Ace keeps brining up D.Price as a trade target but I fail to understand the reason why? It’s obvious the Cubs are on a mission to acquire young team friendly long term controllable players..
    Tading for guys like D. Price would go against the grain of this teams doctrine,, The Cubs are interested in player value that is yet to happen and not have to pay premium dollars for past performance..
    The Cub’s are not going to acquire young talent so they can ship it off to the Rays for a pitcher that is going to cost double in young cost effective talent and huge dollars to employ..By the way if you want to see how this new team doctrine works look how the Rays built the core of their team…

    • X the Cubs Fan

      He’s younger than shark but far more proven the injury may be the only thing people are worried about but he’s coming back soon.

      • Rich H

        He is already back. He pitched Tuesday and went almost 7 innings with 10k’s. Huge boost to my sucky fantasy team.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          I agree, Muley. But I believe there will be a time in a year or two when they reach for an expensive free agent or two to add to their younger, cheaper talent.

  • Die hard

    Cubs could sign Garza using the money earmarked for Bryant and then extend Valbuena and Shark.. A nucleus of proven talent.. If Castro takes over CF and Rizzo continues to improve there will be a lot to look forward to next yr… And still have not heard cogent argument against replacing old CF scoreboard with Jumbotron

    • gocatsgo2003

      Wait… I thought losing Shark wouldn’t be a big deal because he’s a bigger headcase than Zambrano.

      Either way, the $5.5-6MM that has been earmarked for Bryant is likely to get you about one half of one season in a Garza deal. Not exactly going to move the needle much there.

      • Die hard

        Didn’t say didn’t have talent just as Z did… Bryant not signing could free up Cubs to get ready for next yr without worrying if they overpaid for Bryant

    • Jed Jam Band

      The field is protected under the various landmarks provisions to which Wrigley Field has been submitted over the years. In other words, the Cubs can add to or renovate the park, but cannot physically remove something that is protected as “landmark” property, such as the CF scoreboard. Sheesh man, we’ve had this conversation on here before! Read the fracking articles, would ya?

    • Tom A.

      Landmark status basically means they must return it to a 1938 look (albeit newly renovated) except they must add an elevator by law.

      They considered the entrance on Clark and Addison primary for landmark, along with overall height, all brick walls around the field and the scoreboard. They were able to move out the exterior walls in outfield as they considered such to not be primary (like a back-door). Thus, they can’t replace scoreboard with a jumbotron.

      The plans that I saw will make this ballpark look awesome with its vintage appearance.

      Basically the aspect not yet approve are two outfield signs. Keep up good work Cubs organization !

      • Die hard

        Landmark status is an arbitrary designation that can be modified … With one swipe of the pen then problem solved.. It’s like the kid who suggested to experts deflating the tires so stuck truck could clear the overpass

        • Tom A.

          Nobody is asking to change landmark status, from what I understand.

          Who has asked to change landmark status ? Anybody ?

          • Die hard

            It’s another example of why the tax code should be burned at the stake… Millionaires given our tax dollars so can make more millions… To be fair give same status to every bldg in Chicago over 50 yrs old provided landlord gives rent rebate to every long term tenant… More fair … What exactly will fans be getting? Reduction in tkt prices? Hahaha– a joke

            • wvcubsfan

              This is even out there for a Die hard comment. Not sure where it came from or what it’s supposed to mean.

  • WNebCub

    I love the Feldman trade. Strop and Arrieta are live arms, who’ve tasted success in the big leagues. Arrieta in particular if he can stick as a starter, going from al to nl can be big.

    The international spending ideas are interesting. the great part, at least to me, is that we can just appreciate the forward thinking from the organization’s FO. Obviously they targeted this strategy and have been able to execute it, with an eye toward next year and a plan already in mind. I guess i fall into the category of just believing in these guys. But in a supposedly strong year for the international crop of talent for the Cubs to go out and basically sign the top two players, and some other quality kids shows me something. Rangers doing it also.

    I wonder if we’ll be in on the Mexican pitcher or the next great thing from Japan, who’s due soon…???

    This organization is so much better than it was just two years ago.

    Their ability to locate, target, and get undervalued FA major league starting pitching has already been on display over two off seasons, with proven success. So they have to feel confident in their ability to always be able to acquire capable starting pitching to Win and log major league innings. The step they’re addressing in the minors is positional talent, tons of it. All over the place. Just loaded with talent.

    Winning is never guaranteed but Ricketts, Theo, Jed, and the rest of the newly revamped organization is setting the Cubs up for long term annual success. IMO.

  • BleedingCubbieBlue

    Hearing Cubs not done yet signing international players. Cubs on verge of signing #29 MLB Prospect Jenho Tseng from China. Was on WBC Chinese Taipei he is 18 years old. Would probably come right over and play in Arizona.

  • Mike

    My guess is Moscoso will start Sunday.

    • HackAttack

      Raley scheduled to start at AAA tomorrow. If they go ahead with that, you’re probably right. But they could go the piggy-back route. Bring back Bowden or Coleman and have them go 3 or 4 innings. Then have Villanueva go 3 or 4 since they’re stretching him out.

      Coleman, Bowden, or Morcoso would need to be added to the 40 man roster – which has one open slot.

  • ruby2626

    Just sign Garza already. Trading him for a couple prospects where one may end up being as good as Garza doesn’t make sense. He’s still in his 20’s. If we don’t sign him we are kind of admitting our 2 or 3 year plan is really 4 or 5. Really has been a bad year for the Cubs, Castro and Rizzo were assumed to be core players, can we really stil be sure?

    • gocatsgo2003

      Yes… because signing a players is as easy as saying “HEY! SIGN THIS CONTRACT!”

    • Rich H

      They TRIED to sign Garza (am I broken record again?). He wanted more years than any sane FO would offer (LA will do it though). I mean Garza is a good 2a type starter and they offered Sanchez money but he wanted 5 years. 5 YEARS for a guy that has spent more time on the DL than off of it the last 2 years. Lets cut bait and hope his length of contract comes down when he gets in the open market.

      • Kyle

        All of this.

        Whether I like it or not, we’re not a top-tier budget team anymore. We’re a mid-tier team with a lot of holes. We can spend, but we need to spread our FA spending around to a lot of players. Garza knows full well he’ll be the prize of the FA market and some team like the Dodgers will pay a huge premium for him, and that’s just not worth it to us even before you consider what we might get in a trade.

  • Jason

    garza might want a huge deal but does anyone remember how free agency went for players linked to draft pick compensation? Not good…cubs would be able to beat any offer assuming they don’t go super cheap. this would also make the Jackson signing look pretty foolish. they should have some money freed up with marmol gone and possibly dumping Soriano. That being said it would be hard to turn down a couple of top 100 type pitching prospects with high upside. Especially, if one is a lefty.

    • Kyle

      Loshe came out pretty happy in the end, I think.

  • Crockett

    Chris Archer looks REALLY good today. Ugh, I’d love to have that Garza deal back. Last year (before the injury) the Cubs were likely to get back similar value…now they will obviously get less.

    • SenorGato

      I do that Garza deal every time, and won’t be surprised if the Cubs end up with a better SP prospect than Archer. If/When Archer can consistently, through the course of a season, throw strikes, then there’s some shot I might miss him depending on when he does it.

      I also would have been very disappointed last year if the best they could do was similar value to what they gave up. A Low A SS, 5 BB/9 pitcher, and fodder just doesn’t do it for me.

  • EricR

    I think any conversation with the Red Sox about Garza has to start with Middlebrooks.

    • Crockett

      You mean the guy with the 457k/134bb ratio in the minors?

      Uh no. You want the pitching.

      Cubs have Baez, Lake, Candelario, and, hopefully soon, Bryant to answer the 3B question.

    • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

      Not Middlebrooks but Cecchini is the INF / hitter you want from the Bosox. This guy is off the charts from an OPS viewpoint. I’d also ask for pitchers Owens and Ranaudo for Garza, Gregg, Vitters.

  • Mike

    I’d like to see Garza to the Dodgers for Lee or the Padres for Fried and then see the Marlins trade Nolasco to the other to put some pressure on the Diamondbacks to make a crazy trade to the Cubs giving up a Skaggs, Bradley and Delgado package for Shark. Four pitchers in their early 20s to go with Rizzo, Castro, Soler, Baez, Almora and Bryant. Not all will pan out, but I like the Cubs odds. When the Cubs are ready to compete with that group, they will likely have some pieces to trade for the front line starter like Price.

    • X the Cubs Fan

      Zach Lee doesn’t really have a high ceiling and the Cubs would need Joc Pederson back also, which the Dodgers would probably decline. I’d be ok with Bradley, Holmberg and Delgado for Shark, it doesn’t look like they’ll trade both and unless the Mariners suddenly need a second ace I don’t think their is a better pitching prospect in the minors right now.

      • Crockett

        Zach Lee comes to the Cubs and immediately becomes their best pitching prospect. By a fair bit.

        • Deacon

          Let’s remove now any rumors of Garza to the Dodgers. The Cubs worked for what 2 weeks straight last year with Colletti to try and get a Dempster deal done and weren’t able to get him to agree to give us ANYthing close to a prospect in return.

          I think maybe Colletti harbors some resentment from some time in Chicago and is hell-bent on NEVER losing a trade to the Cubs.

          • Crockett

            Agree. Colletti appears to be one of the worst GMs in baseball for the Cubs to bother with.

        • farmerjon

          Being the best pitcher in the cubs system is like being the best looking waitress at Denny’s…

  • http://the-billy-goat.mlblogs.com Cubs_Questions

    Villanueva will start Sunday. Beyond that, the I-Cubs have their projected starters posted through Sunday, and Arrieta is not one of them. It’s hard for me to believe that Chris Rusin, who was just named pitcher of the month, would be taken out of the rotation, so my money is on Guillermo Moscoso.

    Nick Struck, Brooks Raley and Barrett Loux are all young guys in the rotation, and Moscoso is 30. So if anyone is going to be taken out of the rotation for an Arrieta start, my guess is him. Arrieta (I believe) is being primed to come to the Cubbies this July when Garza is traded.

    He’s 27, which isn’t exactly prospect-age anymore. So, he can pitch well this season and either 1) 2gain some trade value going into the offseason, or 2) wedge his way into the cubs plans for a playoff run in 2014/2015. Also, I love what Alberto Cabrera, Frank Batista and especially Kyle Hendricks have done in Double-A so far this season.

    Hendricks is more of a finesse type pitcher like Greg Maddux, and since he doesn’t rely on using his velocity to beat hitters, I would be interested in seeing how he matches up against major league hitters as it stands right now. If given the chance, I truly believe that Hendricks could be a part of the rotation as early as the 2014 season.

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