Lukewarm Stove: Epstein, Rodriguez, Gregg, Samardzija, Soriano, Mariners, More

stoveThe Trade Deadline is exactly one week away. Time for teams – other than the Cubs – to start getting down to business.

  • To that end, the Brewers finally started their sell-off process, sending reliever Francisco Rodriguez to the Orioles for infield prospect Nick Delmonico. The trade is getting a lot of play for being an “oh my God, how did the Brewers get a top five organizational prospect for a couple months of KRod?” I’m not really sure I’d characterize it the same way. First of all, although Delmonico was generally considered a top five organizational prospect for the Orioles coming into the season, consider: (1) the Orioles’ system was generally thought to be in the back half of baseball coming into the season, and that was when they still had Dylan Bundy as one of the top prospects in all of baseball (and Kevin Gausman right there); (2) John Sickels rated Delmonico as a “B-” prospect, a level at which the Cubs had 12(!) prospects coming into the season; and (3) Delmonico hasn’t really wowed this year for a non-middle-infield prospect. None of this is to trash Delmonico, who is a fine prospect. I’m simply saying that the “top five organizational guy” is mitigated strongly by those three things. Further, we can’t ignore that KRod may have been the best reliever available on the market – he was killing it this year for the Brewers (1.09 ERA (360 ERA+), 9.5 K/9, 3.3 BB/9). The Brewers deserved a decent prospect for him.
  • Why all the labor there on Rodriguez/Delmonico? I don’t want folks getting the idea that Kevin Gregg is going to return a top five organizational prospect. Gregg is viewed less as a closer as a solid addition to a bullpen. He has value, and he comes cheap (salary-wise). But the prospect return, if he’s traded solo, is probably only bumped up slightly by the KRod trade – and that’s mostly a product of the fact that KRod went to a team that wasn’t likely to have interest in Gregg in the first place (the O’s had him last year, dumped him late in the season). So the market for Gregg wasn’t decreased by the deal, and that’s a good thing. But I’d say the range on a return for him remains a top 15 to 20 organizational prospect or two. The Cubs can obviously do better if he’s dealt in a package.
  • The Cubs will be moving on to other things this week (not just Alfonso Soriano), according to Theo Epstein. He told the media, including Patrick Mooney: “The Garza trade process was pretty all-consuming for a lot of us. Now we can focus on some other things that we thought would maybe happen closer to the deadline …. There are names left here that are still of interest in a lot of discussions. We’re obviously in that position where if we can improve the future of the organization by continuing to build a strong farm system, and it comes at the expense of a win or two the rest of the season, unfortunately, that’s the position that we’re in and it makes sense to contemplate those moves.” No surprises there, but the usual candor.
  • Jeff Samardzija with a winning quote, per Patrick Mooney, when asked whether trading Matt Garza is a bad sign for the Cubs’ near-term competitiveness plans: “You got to understand reality. We’re 14 or whatever games back, so trading a guy you don’t have [team control] over anymore just kind of makes sense. It’s an unfortunate thing, but there’s other things that tell the tale more than trading a guy that’s two months from free agency.” Dude gets it.
  • And before you start talking about trading Samardzija, know that he sounds pretty comfortable. When asked on Waddle and Silvy if he’s being discussed in trade talks: “Not that I know. If they want to trade me, everything is up to them. But I don’t think that’s something that’s in the books, not that I heard.” As I’ve said before, in order to even consider trading Samardzija, the Cubs would have to be so overwhelmed that I don’t see any team being willing to put together the kind of package it would take.
  • On the Soriano front, there isn’t anything to announce just yet, but Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer presumably spoke with Soriano about his options last night in Arizona (either specific options, or general ones). Jon Heyman says the Soriano/Yankees deal makes too much sense to not happen, with the Cubs paying more than half of the $25 million left on Soriano’s deal. The prospect return and the money paid have an inverse relationship, and if the Cubs pay only about half (not that Heyman is saying that – I’m just making a point), I wouldn’t expect them to get a terribly interesting return. If they eat upwards of $18 to $20 million, however, I would expect a very solid return (and so should the Cubs).
  • The Mariners probably won’t be buyers this week, but, at least as of this moment, they aren’t sellers either. With a few short-term bats bullpen pieces to offer, it would obviously be good news for sellers like the Cubs if the Mariners decided to hold onto their assets (for some crazy reason).
  • A quickly debunked rumor circulated last night that the White Sox hard turned down an offer of big-time pitching prospect Carlos Martinez from the Cardinals for shortstop Alexei Ramirez. Obviously, as a Cubs fan, you wish that the rumor had been true, and that the White Sox had (DUH!) accepted the deal. But it wasn’t true, and the sides might merely be in discussions.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

110 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Epstein, Rodriguez, Gregg, Samardzija, Soriano, Mariners, More”

  1. North Side Irish

    ChicagoCubsOnline ‏@TheCCO 1m
    RT @JeffWilson_FWST #Rangers announce that Neil Ramirez has gone on the disabled list at Double A Frisco with a biceps strain.

    Not sure what this does to the PTBNL part of the Garza deal…

    1. MDel

      Looking at it from another perspective (and taking a moment to put on my tin foil hat), if the Rangers wanted to keep Ramirez, perhaps they can find ways to get him on the DL to sway the Cubs away.

      1. Spriggs

        Stay clear of the microwave with that thing on.

    2. Jason P

      Would have looked bad if he was traded to the Cubs in the original deal and then this happened.

    3. JM

      Isn’t that just convenient?

  2. BT

    Why do so many clearly asinine trade rumors revolve around the White Sox?

    1. Fishin Phil

      Somehow, the answer is hidden within your own question.

      1. Spriggs

        I see it… and I didn’t even have to spell anything backwards!

  3. ETS

    Is strop for sell? Will he net more than Gregg?

    1. Jason P

      No way. (A) Strop’s young/can be part of the bullpen for years to come if he continues to produce and (B) 9 good outings aren’t going to convince anyone to part with their top prospects, especially given his struggles before coming to the Cubs.

      Gregg’s old and — with the exception of a few bad outings before the brake — has been producing since April.

  4. Ivy Walls

    To me the landscape of the obvious beyond the Yankees is Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh.

    Schierholtz and Gregg make so much sense it is like a doorbell ringing when the postman usually delivers the mail (now that too will be a thing of the past),

    So what is Gregg and Schierholtz worth to a small market team who have not finished above .500 since my 22 year old son was born?

    The Pirates are deep and then deeper with pitching talent….they could get two more young lively arms

  5. cavemencubbie

    Brett;
    This is off the current thread, from a dummy, but MLB related. I have read that A-Rod maybe expelled from playing baseball for PED’s If that happens, are the Yankees still on the hook for the balance of his contract? Curiosity reigns! Thanks

    1. Ivy Walls

      insurance…and then there is the void the contract clause…lawyers and deals

      1. Ivy Walls

        possibly why MLB is reportedly looking at repeated violations and lifetime ban

        13:$28M, 14:$25M, 15:$21M, 16:$20M, 17:$20M

        $100M on the table….sounds like lawyers are circling the tank for a feeding frenzy

        1. Die hard

          MLB was complicit and won’t have leg to stand on

          1. mak

            Won’t have a leg to stand on? They seem to be standing on it pretty well re: Braun.

            1. demz

              And Braun isn’t being (allegedly) considered for a lifetime ban either.

      2. ETS

        I think he means wrt salary cap purposes. And I think the answer is yes, the yankees are off the hook. I think if you’re a yanks fan you are rooting for ARod to be banned for life.

      3. mak

        I don’t think insurance kicks in of he’s suspended, nor can they void his contract under the CBA.

        However, if he is truly banned from baseball, then his contract will obviously be null and void (like Braun not receiving pay for the rest of the year), but short of that, the Yankees are not getting out of this agreement.

  6. Crockett

    Cubs are going to need an additional minor league team to handle all these prospects that are going to show up by July 31st.

    1. Ivy Walls

      too things, DFA and trades

      1. Crockett

        too? Hmm…

        1. On The Farm

          Won word: Yes

          1. Jp3

            For words: Phil he’s write though

            1. Jason P

              Know won would want are minor league fillers in trades.

              1. Jp3

                That’s wood and Inn

    2. CubsFaninMS

      I believe it will be s**t or get off the pot for many of our borderline system prospects.

      1. Scotti

        As someone who has done his business on a pot, it is considered bad form to sh*t whilst sitting upon the pot. The pot is for pissing (late at night so you don’t have to walk outside in the cold to the outhouse). Anything that comes from the caboose is still something you have to walk out to the outhouse to do.

        1. Fishin Phil

          All questions regarding any type of pot should be referred to TWC.

          1. TWC

            ::arches eyebrow::

    3. ssckelley

      It means trimming the junk and creating more internal competition for spots in the minor leagues. You do not want prospects feeling comfortable with the position they have in the minors. I like Lake but perhaps this is why he is performing up to that potential everyone said he had, because he is fighting for a job on the MLB team. Something he may never had to do since he was in the Dominican.

  7. Cheese Chad

    I’d be shocked if Cards traded Martinez for Ramirez straight up. Alexi is a nice infielder but Carlos Martinez looks to be pretty darn good. Plus it’s hard to make a deal with the Cardinals, you never know if (more likely when) that St. Louis magic (magic…..magic….) will wear off. You get Pedro Martinez when you with the Cards, Ramon Martinez on any other team (a quote from my cousin).

    1. mak

      I’m not sure what Alexei’s contract is like, but the Cards have been looking for a long term solution at SS, and while Alexei is having a down year, I think he’s a great pick up — both on offense and defense. I’d think the Cards would have to consider with Miller, Wacha and Rosenthal slated for the rotation next year.

      1. mak

        edit: I didn’t realize how bad he was last year. That’s a bit concerning.

    2. Crockett

      I am telling you, the Cardinals sold their souls to the devil at some point. They CONTINUE to have unbelievable luck and overachievers even without Dave Duncan and Drinky LaRussa.

      Hate.

      1. DReese

        Hate hate hate

  8. Chris

    But the reality is for every new guy that shows up–another prospect once upon a time leaves. Frequently these are the same prospects that we talked about just a few years ago. There is a new team to go too sometimes–it is called an independent league. The big white van runs frequently between Fitch and the Phoenix airport. Kind of sad–sometimes beyond sad for a player.

  9. mudge

    Rodriguez vs Yankees situation turning mighty ugly.

  10. mak

    I don’t see this posted anywhere else, so forgive me if this old news, but John over at Cubs’ Den is reporting that there is a 75% chance of Soriano getting dealt tonight (I hate the % game) http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/07/soriano-contemplating-potential-deal/
    . Granted this is based off a source saying that they were told to maybe take down his picture in the press room, so I don’t really know if there is anything to that.

    1. Jed Jam Band

      Saw that. DiCaro, Loxas, and Arguello are all running with it. Rober Murray even seems to buy into it. It feels sketchy to me, but if they prove me wrong, I’ll have to tip my hat to DiCaro for scooping this.

      1. cms0101

        It’s already later in the day than when the Garza deal came together. I haven’t seen a starting lineup anywhere yet, so it will be telling when that is released.

        1. cms0101

          On another note, DeJesus activated and Sappelt sent back to Iowa. Sounds about right…

          1. mak

            Seems like the Dave Sappelt experiment (experience?) is just about done with. I imagine he’ll be one of the next DFA’s if needed, or the first one of the offseason.

            1. ssckelley

              You might be right, it will be nice to see the Cubs cleaning up their 40 man roster because they need to protect legit talent.

            2. Chris

              Agree that Sappelt may have seen mlb for the last time.

      2. Jp3

        I think he’s totally guessing and he’s going to be wrong. He must not remember Soriano the last couple years of trade fiascos. Whenever he gets asked about a trade scenario he has to ponder life’s key to the cosmos before he can come to a conclusion to accept or not.

        1. mak

          yea, pretty ridiculous considering all of the reports in spring training about soriano expecting to green light any trade to a contender this year.

        2. CubsFaninMS

          The Soriano trade topic has been the ultimate set of Cubbie blue balls in the history of Cubdom. Leave your pants on, folks.

        3. mak

          Good point by Kap — Soriano’s numbers are really good off Kennedy, Sveum plays the numbers. This is not a regularly scheduled day off?

      3. MichiganGoat

        Yeah I want to run with that but it just seemed to big a story not to be reported anywhere else… So I’m waiting to hear more.

      4. mak

        Soriano not in the lineup, but Carrie Muskat saying its “just a day off, don’t start rumors.”

        1. Senior Lake

          Eh. Why would he get a day off against a pitcher he’s hit so well against if they are trying to showcase him as trade bait? Seems like a deal must be “close”.

        2. Voice of Reason

          Carrie Muskat is employed by MLB. She writes what she is told and is biased.
          Believing what she writes would be like believing an Illinois Democratic Party Newsletter that says Obama is the best President ever.

          1. Greenroom

            please can we not use political analogies. Its old. thanks

          2. DarthHater

            or like believing that you are a voice of reason…

            1. JayPaul

              Or like believing Garza couldn’t possibly still net Mike olt+…..

    2. Voice of Reason

      Yeah, because that’s the first thing the team is worried about doing once they move Soriano… taking his picture down in the clubhouse.
      What a stupid comment.

      1. mak

        I mean I totally agree, which is why I said “Granted this is based off a source saying that they were told to maybe take down his picture in the press room, so I don’t really know if there is anything to that.”

        I’d like to think they had more than that one source when making their earlier report.

  11. Chris

    Wait, why would I want the Sux to acquire Carlos Martinez??

    1. Jason P

      Because then the Cardinals don’t have him, and it get s him out of the division.

      1. Chris

        yeah… but I hate the White Sux…

        1. Cyranojoe

          Which team do you hate more? The ratbirds or the dirty laundry?

    2. frank

      So the Cardinals don’t have him–just depends on which team you dislike more.

    3. cms0101

      The Cardinals impact the Cubs ability to make the playoffs more than the Whitesox. It’s a worst of two evils situation.

      1. cms0101

        Or should I say best of two evils…

  12. North Side Irish

    Tommy Birch ‏@TommyBirch 2m
    Grimm, who had been nursing a sore elbow, said he’s fine now. Added he’ll be on a pitch count for his #IowaCubs debut Friday. #Cubs #PCL

    Comforting…I’d heard it was a forearm issue…but it’s just a sore elbow.

  13. josh

    Soriano isn’t in the lineup tonight… Lake starting in left…

  14. johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Muskrat says scheduled day off for Soriano

    1. josh

      That’s so strange. He’s got great numbers against Kennedy and in the midst of all this talk about him headed back to New York? Who knows. Maybe he just needs to clear his mind.

      1. TWC

        “He’s got great numbers against Kennedy…”

        … in a whopping 18 PAs.

        1. Falselife

          Soriano’s OPS vs him last season was 3.089. Regardless of sample size it’s an odd sit.

          1. TWC

            Ah, gotcha. Only the stats that *you* like matter. Cool.

            1. falselife

              I’m gathering after a few years on the site that TWC must stand for “Trolling With Conviction”?

              1. TWC

                Stick around, kid. After a few more years you might actually learn what “trolling” really means.

                1. Kansas Cubs Fan

                  Speaking of trolling, I’ve been looking into getting something like a 10′or 12′ Jon boat with a trolling motor. This bank fishing is getting old.

                  1. Danny Ballgame

                    Fishing kayak my friend. They are amazing

                    1. Kansas Cubs Fan

                      Never used one, but it’s definitely being considered.

                      Watch this video:

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq5GPLU1hfE

                      Or just search “47# flathead kayak fishing”.

                    2. Danny Ballgame

                      Awesome. I tend to stick to trout out here in Colorado. I would have been after that cat

                    3. Cory

                      Just bought a kayak myself maybe the best fishing investment I made. I suggest sit on instead of sit in.

      2. cubchymyst

        The choice is Lake or Soriano playing tonight, DeJesus and Shierholtz are going to play to because they likely have the largest trade market. Lake been playing well and will benefit form playing everyday.

      3. Rebuilding

        It doesn’t really matter whether any of us like the SSS matchup stats. Sveum has made it clear in the past that he looks at them. Also, Soriano just had four straight days off for the All-Star break

    2. Jed Jam Band

      I don’t like to be the tin foil hat guy, but Muskat works for the Cubs. She wouldn’t tell us if Soriano were close to being traded. That being said, it might really be a night off. That, combined with the fact that they’d rather not take Lake out of the lineup. Of course, it makes more sense if Sori is close to being traded.

      1. Cyranojoe

        Technically, Muskat works for MLB, not the Cubs. The Ricketts have nothing to do with her paycheck. Just sayin’….

        1. mak

          If the Cubs wanted to dismiss her or transfer her away from the team, it would be done in a second. Just sayin.

        2. Jed Jam Band

          Ok, thanks, knew I might be wrong about that one. Still, it’s unlikely that you’re going to see an MLB writer break that story.

        3. ClevelandCubsFan

          Does anyone actually believe the part about “This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs”?

          Follow the money.

      2. mak

        It doesn’t add up. I think he’s gone.

        1. Falselife

          I agree. I’d bet TWC’s contract on it.

          1. TWC

            Has that number been made public yet? Yikes! I need a new BN identity….

  15. ssckelley

    Anybody else find it strange that Alexei Ramirez home run totals the past 4 seasons have been 18, 15, 9, and 1? He hit 21 his rookie season in only 509 plate appearances.

    1. Jed Jam Band

      Yeah, I mean, kinda. I’d have to look up his batted ball data and all that to see what’s up. I mean, that kind of dropoff is concerning. It’s not like he’s totally lost the ability to hit either.

      1. ssckelley

        The amount of hits has not dropped, just the amount flying out of the ball park.

  16. mak

    Total speculation (duh), but I’m starting to think Soriano trade finalized and just waiting for his approval. A few very muted whispers, not in the lineup. Obviously after Dempster saga, Theo probably made it top priority to keep it hush hush. Just spit balling here.

  17. TonyP

    Dave Sappelt ‏@DaveSappelt 4m
    On the road again #Iowa

    ??????

    1. Cyranojoe

      DeJesus activated.

    2. TonyP

      D’oh probably Dejesus

    3. mak

      DeJesus activated.

    4. someday...2015?

      Dejesus back up.

    5. iowacubs

      Dejesus back…Sappelt back to AAA

      1. Josh

        I’m confused…..did DeJesus get activated? Having trouble finding confirmation…….*sarcasm*

        1. ssckelley

          Yes, DeJesus got activated. Sent Sappelt back down to Iowa.

    6. Corey

      Saw that too.

  18. josh

    We’ll find out sooner or later

  19. iowacubs

    What time should we expect a line-up announcement for tonights game?

    1. TWC
  20. Die hard

    Is Yu Darvish on the block? Yankees?

  21. Ivy Walls

    Geez, Louise….Soriano is out of the lineup? A scheduled day off? Didn’t the MLB just have a four day break less than a week ago?

    He played 16 games in a row prior to ASB, was off 2 days in a row June 26 & 27

    Then from May 21 to June 25 with off days of June 24, June 6,
    Played May 10th to May 18th, off day May 9th
    May 2 to May 8th.

    He does not need an off day just five games after the ASB and against a pitcher he has blistered.

    Ha, remember they said the same for Garza as Cubs had not called anyone up but it was Rusin who had a problem getting on a plane….

    Soriano is gone, Cubs are merely working out the details. Good job Theo/FO

    1. TWC

      Pro tip: refresh the main page, *then* comment.

  22. Kansas Cubs Fan

    I saw Epstein in the headline and got a little nervous. Thought he was going to be traded or something lol. I was about to go post up at a Starbucks.

  23. fresno cub fan

    Brett, Garza had 5 shutout innings then gave up and un-earned run in the sixth. The error was a throwing error…and guess who threw the ball away for an error…you get one guess!
    Yep…boy did you jinx him or what!

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