The 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.