Just a little bit to keep your Saturday rollin’ …
- Interest in Alfonso Soriano – by the media, if not other teams – continues to tick upward, with a large piece on Soriano and crosstown outfield trade target Alex Rios by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. Crasnick discusses the Pirates’ need for an outfield bat, though it seems they’re more interested in a lefty than a righty (Crasnick mentions Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus). I will be interested to see whether there is an uptick in DeJesus rumors if he returns even a couple days before the Trade Deadline. Outside of the injury, he’s a known quantity on a team-friendly deal (with a $6.5 million option for 2014). Presumably, if team’s are confident in his health, even if he hasn’t played much in July, it remains possible that he could be dealt.
- Bruce Levine reports that “multiple teams” are calling the Cubs about Kevin Gregg and James Russell, the Cubs’ two most attractive reliever. The former is a free agent after the season and is in his mid-30s, making him a fairly certain trade piece. Russell, 27, is under team control for two more years after this one, and is cheap and effective. The Cubs could use Russell just about as much as any other team, so I’d expect any asking price on him to be quite high.
- Speaking of lefty relievers, the Boston Red Sox picked one up from the White Sox last night. The Red Sox got 36-year-old Matt Thornton for 22-year-old AA outfield prospect Brandon Jacobs and a bunch of salary relief (they’re picking up most of the $3.5 million Thornton is owed the rest of this year). Jacobs was a top 15 organizational prospect to most services coming into the season, so it looks like a nice return for the White Sox, even if Jacobs appears to have some serious flaws in his game (and was/is going to be Rule 5 eligible this year). Thornton, who comes with a probably-to-be-declined $6 million option, has been a consistently good reliever who is increasingly able to dominate lefties. His overall performance is in something of a decline, however, since peaking around 2009. I tend to think this was a pretty nice price for an older, declining, rental reliever. Can’t hurt the Cubs when shopping Gregg or Russell, each of whom would net more than a Jacobs.
- Does the Thornton deal take the Red Sox out of the reliever market? I tend to doubt it. They were looking before lefty Andrew Miller got hurt, so all they’ve done is patch that hole.
- An anonymous GM tells Jon Heyman that, while Matt Garza is the best immediate impact pitcher on the market, the best long-term value is Bud Norris. Maybe because he offers team control, but color me unconvinced about the performance. Norris, 28, has his FIP under 4 this year for the first time in his career. (Of course, Garza’s only done it once before this year, so … )