I don’t want to play the part of the sandy ostrich here, so I’ll acknowledge that, while I’ve maintained that Nate Schierholtz presents a great deal of value to the Chicago Cubs in 2014, it feels increasingly likely that he’ll actually be traded today.
Yesterday, there was a great deal of non-specific Schierholtz smoke, which, itself, came on the heels of phrases like “most likely the next to be traded” and the like. Now, Jayson Stark emphasizes that, as Deadline day unfolds, Schierholtz still appears the most likely Cub to be traded – even moreso than Kevin Gregg or James Russell.
If there’s a market at all for Gregg, I think he’s still clearly the most likely player to be traded on this roster. But, I suppose there is a possibility that his market has evaporated completely over the last few weeks thanks to some rough outings and several reliever moves in the last two days. If so, then maybe you would have to give it to Schierholtz.
The tricky parsing is whether Schierholtz being the most likely Cub to be moved necessarily means he’s likely to be moved. In theory, the most likely Cub to be moved could still have just a, say, 25% chance of being traded (with everyone else something less than 25%). But you wouldn’t say, definitionally, that the player was likely to be traded.
With Schierholtz, given what I expect are lofty trade demands (again, because of that sticky 2014 value thing), I never really felt comfortable saying the odds of a trade were much better than 50/50. And if Schierholtz is at 50/50, I tend to think Gregg remains more likely to be moved than that. I suppose I’m just having fun with numbers and gut checks.
In any event, the point remains: a huge number of sources seem to believe that the Cubs – who are expected to make some moves today – are likely to deal Schierholtz if they deal anyone at all.
Now we get to start really digging into what the expected return should be for a cheap, 1.5-year-controlled 29-year-old right fielder who plays good defense and runs the bases well, and who is hitting extremely well … but is doing so in a platoon, and as part of a career year. A couple top 10 organizational prospects? A top 80 to 100 overall prospect? That kind of feels like the range, but I’m going to have to dig in to determine whether that’s justifiable.
Ken Rosenthal just reported that a source tells him the Cubs are expected to deal Schierholtz or David DeJesus, with DeJesus perhaps more likely to be dealt. Rosenthal acknowledges Schierholtz’s value to the Cubs in 2014 (DeJesus is also under control for 2014, but likely at a higher salary ($6.5 million option), and is four years older than Schierholtz). The Pirates, Rosenthal says, are in on both outfielders.
Schierholtz likely brings you the better return now, so that’s a factor. But DeJesus is a great veteran presence to have on a young team. Having to choose is actually a tough call, and the Cubs will likely let the offers do the choosing for them. Where things would get really interesting is if the Cubs received great offers on both outfielders. Do they deal both, knowing that they’ve suddenly got to come up with at least two new outfielders next year (that’s assuming they believe Junior Lake is a legit starter)? Or do they feel like, in order to have a shot at being marginally competitive next year, they’ve got to start from a place where they still have at least one of those two guys?