james russell cubsThat might not be the best way to phrase that headline, given that every Cubs player is “available.” Until now, although we know that teams have had interest in James Russell, and that the Cubs will consider a move if it improves them overall, Russell has consistently been listed by pundits as “unlikely” to be traded.

I generally have agreed. He’s 27. He’s an effective lefty against righties and lefties (some hiccups this year notwithstanding). He makes barely $1 million this year, and has two more arbitration years left. He’s been the Cubs’ only consistently effective lefty reliever for going on two years. Dude has a lot of value to the Cubs.

However, if a report from Bruce Levine is to be believed, the Cubs are willing to part with him.

Levine says that, last week, Russell was “almost traded” to the Braves. We’d heard from the Atlanta side that there was strong interest in Russell around that time, so Levine’s report makes sense in that regard. Yesterday, the Braves picked up Scott Downs for a song, and their desire for a lefty reliever probably passed. Levine adds, though, that the Reds have also been looking for a reliever like Russell, and have inquired. There’s a bit more in Levine’s report from Dale Sveum, and a look at Nate Schierholtz rumors, as well.

The upshot here is less about specific interest from the Reds (or Braves, or whomever), and more about the fact that the Cubs were close to trading Russell at all last week. He’s long been a tough one to value in trade, for the reasons discussed above (coupled with his low velocity, and reliance on changing speeds and hitting locations – not what you’d expect from a late-inning reliever), and I still tend to doubt that the Cubs will get enough to move him right now.

But it sounds like they’re open to it.

  • Vulcan

    The plot thickens…

  • CM

    He should be.

  • nkniacc13

    Boy if they don’t make a move tonight could they make a bunch of moves tomorrow?

  • Crockett

    Interesting. Wonder what the return would’ve been?

    Definitely feel like they’re overusing Russell by a mile this season.

  • MichiganGoat

    Oh boy oh boy the Blogathon is really starting to get interesting now.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Russell to Cincy would be great, but I’d want Cingrani.

    • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

      Russell and Travis Wood would not get you Cingrani.

      • VegasGoat

        I wouldn’t want cingrani for that price. He’s a two pitch pitcher. Not even a decent third pitch.

      • Cub Fan in Hickory(Mike S)

        Thats ok, we can take Stephenson off their hands then, lol.

  • VegasGoat

    I bet the Reds still have a bad taste in their mouth from the previous Marshall trade. I don’t think they’ll over pay again

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    AZ announcers Gonzo and Berthume are discussing KT making moves. Then, Kennedy gives up a gopher ball. All the hits are up in the zone. Tampa is ON FIRE! Best month of July possibly in MLB history – top 5.

    • Jon

      Hey, but he almost won a CY Young years ago…..

      • X the Cubs Fan

        He had pretty good year last year as well.

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        Yeah, I know. Seen the discussion, posted analysis. Good buy low guy.
        Broadcasters were talking trades…

  • LWeb23

    Please let’s fleece the Reds again with a lefty reliever. Russell’s usage this year and last year makes me think of a certain Cubs LH reliever going to the Reds.

  • Frankfort Dave

    I know this this is off topic, but I want one of those wrestling masks…..it would go great with the Zubaz I’m getting in September

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Keepers? Rizzo Castro Lake Castillo
    Trade? Dejesus Schierholtz Barney
    Send back? Valbuena

    • VegasGoat

      I’m not for Castillo is going to be our starter at the backstop when were competing a few years from now. He has a lot of tools but I’m not sure he’ll be a great hitting catcher. Which I guess as long as he provides an above average backstop who works well with starting pitchers then his bat won’t matter as much

    • http://Isa Voice of reason

      Send back valbuena???

      There was a story on this website about a month ago that said the cubs should think of valbuena as their third baseman of the future!!!!!!!!

      • BT

        That’s a lot of punctuation marks. You must really be making an important point.

  • Justin Koehneke

    Brett ,

    Take a nap. We need you when something actually happens!

    • Vulcan

      That’s not part of the deal. 😉

      • Justin Koehneke

        haha true but nothing is going to happen until tomorrow! How do we really know he’s not taking cat naps!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Cat naps actually make me feel worse.

          (Also, so far, there has been nothing even close to resembling an opportunity for a nap … )

          • Hansman1982

            Depends how long of a nap you take. Needs to be less than 25 mins or more than 2-3 hours.

            • Eternal pessemist

              No, actually i agree with Brett on the catnaps. Makss me wake up in a comfused stupor

  • Carew

    Oh lordy, let this be true. I know I’ve mentioned it, but I am not a fan of Russell.

  • cub2014

    me likey Arrieta’s stuff!!!!!!!

    • Rebuilding

      He was supposedly hitting 98 in Iowa the other night. What’s the fun say tonight? If they get him straightened out too you have to ask whether its Johnson, Bosio or both that are working magic

    • Danny Ballgame

      What does he throw? I can’t watch the game and am really curious

      • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

        Nasty 80mph curve, mid-90’s fastball with some cut that fangraphs calls a slideer, mid-90’s two-seamer with plenty of cut, and a not-so-good mid-80’s changeup that he rarely throws.

        • Danny Ballgame

          Thanks man

  • Die hard

    Coleman and Struck with Barney and DeJesus for Kennedy

  • Justin Koehneke

    What prospects do you think the cubs would have to unload for david price is the offseason?

    • macpete22

      Baez, Vogelbach, Pierce Johnson and probably at least 1 more lower prospect

      • Justin Koehneke

        Ya. I would rather give Soler than baez

        • jpeck

          Stop it. both of you are grounded. The Cubs are not giving up either of their 2 best prospects for ANYBODY

          • Justin Koehneke

            For David Price I would. I like our prospects but lets face it our pitching sucks in the minors right now. Adding David Price w/ Shark would be nice.

            • X the Cubs Fan

              … Plus Kershaw after next year.

              • Carew

                Kershaw will never leave LA

                • Jp3

                  Insert picture of Snake (Kurt Russell) from escape from LA here Darth… My Internet isn’t hooked up yet so I can’t do it

            • jpeck

              And our MLB team cant score any runs. I think we will Keep our best offensive prospects. Once our team is solid, then you go out and get the “Price” type pitchers.

  • Kyle

    Eh, the more I look at it, the more I’m OK with it. We’ve added in the bullpen elsewhere, and the peripherals on Russell aren’t that great.

  • Bilbo161

    All the Cubs trades are going to go down just before the deadline and we won’t hear the news until after the deadline. They are going to make Brett earn every cent of that money. 😉

  • Spoda17

    Brett, I can tell you are getting a bit loopy… (everything is in a parenthesis)…(cuz we all need a hug)

    • Cubbie Blues

      You shoulda been here a couple of years ago. Everything was placed into parenthesis including parenthesis.

      • Rebuilding

        Brett’s an ex-lawyer. Parentheses are his mana

      • MichiganGoat

        Wait till he post the next Vine… he’s starting to break.

      • Hansman1982


        • Cubbie Blues

          Where is wirgley bleachers?

          • Hansman1982

            If you don’t know then you’re not cool enough for me to tell you

  • nkniacc

    Would guess that most of cubs targets would able to help now or be a couple years from rule 5.

  • Frank

    Brett, If some teams are on the fence about a trade, I’ll through in my wife to sweeten the deal. She’s not a very good pitcher, but she could stand on the mound and irritate the crap out of all the batters and they’d swing at anything just to get the hell out of there.

    • mudge

      I used to have a wife like that.

      he got himself married at seventeen; she looked real pretty but she talked kinda mean
      he thought they’d work things out in the fullness of time
      well twenty years later he’s headed south, the close-range victim of her sawed-off mouth
      leavin’ their salad days behind

      and he’s changed his name from Frank to Valentino
      and he’s growin’ out his sideburns, and he’s wearin’ platform shoes
      and he’s drivin on the midnight road from Medford down to Reno
      and he thinks he’s found a way to cure his workin’ blues

      from “Frank to Valentino” song by the late great Dave Carter from When I Go album.

  • Reality Check

    russell is a Loogy; not sure why anyone thinks otherwise; his career ops vs lefties is .667 and against righties is .849; and with no plan to win prior to 2016; might as well move him.(and his ops this year is even worse against righties so could be a trend; time to move on.