stoveI really hope MLB announces/leaks/whatevers the Biogenesis suspensions by the end of this week to help clarify the trade market. I say that not as a fan of a selling team (although, yes, mass suspensions on contending teams would probably help the Cubs), but instead as someone trying to track trade rumors. Until there is relative certainty on the Biogenesis stuff, it’s hard for teams to make moves. The trickling effect isn’t difficult to imagine: say the A’s really like Yovani Gallardo, but don’t want to make a move until they know what’s up with Bartolo Colon’s possible suspension. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks kinda like Matt Garza and would be ready to offer the best package, but they won’t do it until they know that the same package won’t land them Gallardo. And the Brewers aren’t going to move Gallardo until they know if they can get that one special, awesome prospect they’ve always wanted from the A’s. That’s not only a plausible example, it’s a tiny, tiny circuit when compared to how extended this trickle could become. I want clarity, and, for that reason, I’m quite certain all of the buyers and sellers out there want clarity, too.

  • He sat the last two days before the All-Star break to get a full week’s rest, but Nate Schierholtz remains a popular name in trade circles discussing available outfielders. “Multiple sources” tell TribLive that the Pirates are checking in on Schierholtz in their pursuit of an outfield bat. My position on Schierholtz remains unchanged: if he can net you a very good prospect/player, or he can supplement a bigger trade and turn a package of so-so prospects into a package of elite prospects, then, sure, make a deal. But short of that, he’s under control through 2014, will make a very reasonable salary next year, and has taken quite well both to platooning and Wrigley. The Cubs don’t have a ton of starting-caliber outfielders ready to break through by the start of 2014, so there’s just no rush here.
  • It’s been a long time – well, a long time in rumor season days – since the Padres were “surprising” and “competitive” and “buying.” Danny Knobler reports that they’ve now swung completely in the other direction, and are ready to sell.* The big name that could mean is Chase Headley (no, I don’t see a fit with the Cubs for the reason I’ve said before: Headley doesn’t help the Cubs for the rest of 2013, even if he would in 2014. Because he doesn’t offer the Cubs value in 2013 (i.e., they aren’t playoff contenders), but does offer that value – hugely – to other teams), other teams will rightly be willing to pay much more for him. Where the Padres selling does affect the Cubs, however, is if they make Edinson Volquez (a cheap rental, though largely ineffective) or relievers Huston Street or Luke Gregerson available. Those latter two would command serious attention, even if it’s a down year for both.

  • *Another exemplary reminder of how difficult it is to peg the market in early July, let alone mid-June. And buyers – the legit ones – know this. They frequently would rather wait to buy until late July when there might be more players on the market. This is why a team like the Cubs, even if they for certain want to sell in June or early July can’t always pull it off. You’ve got to have a developed market for it to work.
  • As one team comes onto the market, one team might come off (kinda). That team would be the Marlins, per Joe Frisaro, who are now sending signals that they don’t want to trade any of their younger/cost-controlled players, including Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison, Steve Cishek and Mike Dunn. No one thought Stanton would be traded this year anyway (though this report, coupled with one from Danny Knobler, suggests the Marlins won’t trade him this Winter, either), and the Cubs don’t really have a competing piece on the market for Morrison, so there’s no impact there. But if Cishek and Dunn aren’t available, that helps the reliever market for the Cubs.
  • It doesn’t sounds like scouts trust Kevin Gregg as a sure-fire closer for contenders, given that, when asked by Danny Knobler, the listed on Jonathan Papelbon as a reliable closer that might be available (forget that Papelbon has blown 5 of 25 save opportunities this year … (ok, that’s a little unfair, because he actually has been dominant, though his strikeout rate is way down)). Gregg’s tough two games against the Cardinals on national TV the last two days probably haven’t helped.

  • Speaking of Papelbon and the Phillies, with Ben Revere going down with a broken foot, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro is openly admitting that they’ll look for a center fielder in trade. Too bad David DeJesus has been out, and that Ryan Sweeney broke his rib. Not sure either of them would have been a perfect fit, but desperation is always welcomed by sellers in late July.
  • Ken Rosenthal suspects that scouts from the Pirates, Orioles, and Tigers could have been looking at Cubs relievers this weekend, rather than, for example, Matt Garza.
  • Jon Heyman was on the Score this morning, and, among other things, he said that there should be more interest in Alfonso Soriano than there is, and that the Cubs would likely focus on the prospect return, rather than just saving money. That last bit could ease the fears of folks who had heard Ken Rosenthal’s thoughts on the Cubs’ priorities in a Matt Garza deal

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