nate schierholtz cubsIn the pantheon of rumors that have been expected for some time, this one is right up there. The team, the players, the availability, and the need all make sense.

Bruce Levine reports that the Tigers have had VP of Player Personnel Scott Reid checking out both Nate Schierholtz and Darwin Barney in the last week, presumably as they make plans to deal with injuries to outfielder Andy Dirks and shortstop Jose Iglesias. The two Cubs players have actually connected to the Tigers in recent weeks (Schierholtz in a rumor from Jon Morosi, Barney in speculation from, well, lots of folks). Further, Barney has been playing some shortstop in Starlin Castro’s absence, and the Cubs could theoretically replace Schierholtz in the outfield rotation with someone like Ryan Kalish.

The main holdup in a deal like this, of course, is the timing: it’s hard to put together big deals in late Spring Training. Teams have budgets in place, and want to preserve some midseason flexibility. Teams are also generally unwilling to disrupt the clubhouse too dramatically this close to the start of the season. All in all, I’m not sure I see a deal involving both Schierholtz and Barney coming together at this time. But apparently the Tigers are at least willing to consider the possibility.

Don’t get your hopes too high about the return, though. Yes, Schierholtz and Barney offer genuine value (neither is very expensive, to boot), but they are short-term fill-in piece, at least from the Tigers’ perspective. They aren’t going to dent their current team – think Rick Porcello or Drew Smyly (with Anibal Sanchez potentially having a shoulder issue, neither Porcello nor Smyly can be considered surplus at this point) – to pick up some patches in other areas. Instead, the return would likely be a mix of prospects, presumably with a focus on upper level minor league arms.

But, of course, that probably gets way ahead of ourselves. We’ll see if the chatter increases from here, and I do think the Tigers will end up doing something. There are other options out there, of course.

  • BenW

    Trade actually makes good sense for both teams. Cubs have Kalish to replace Nate, and Bonifocio to replace Barney. If the return could be a couple of low-level, higher-upside pitchers that could be ready in 2-3 years, then I say pull the trigger.

    • cub4life


      • http://BN Sacko

        yep, go for it

    • Noah_I

      Thank you for including a reasonable return for this trade! Something like Ivan Pineyro (who the Cubs got in the Hairson trade) plus one more high ceiling wish and a dream type, even if a guy primed just to go to short season A ball this year, would be a solid return for Schierholtz and Barney.

    • TK

      Disagree. Eye on the prize! If we aren’t going to get anyone who has realistic potential to significantly impact the big league team, theres no reason to do it. Trading just for the sake of trading does not improve the future product. Why trade for anyone thats not better than (or maybe not even as good as?) the majority of SP already in the system when theres already doubt whether THEY are good enough? Neither players’ values will be lower (this season) than they are now. We can get more in return in July, especially if combined with a SP. And in July there will be more desperate teams with better farms than Detroit in need of these guys. Trading them now for the type of players discussed simply removes 2 pawns from the board. Occasionally those pawns can impact the outcome if used properly. WE NEED QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY.

  • Melrosepad

    Brett, along with this rumor do you think the Cubs would possibly keep an eye out on Tabata from the Bucs?

  • cking6178

    This is the kind of article I like to see…I think Barney’s departure is a foregone conclusion…Schierholtz still has value to the Cubs, so I could see them holding on to him…his future value, i.e. trade deadline, is bigger to the Cubs than his present value…So, unless the Tigers are willing to value Schierholtz at his July value vs his March value, I don’t think he’s included in the pkg deal…

    • nate1m

      Agreed. But if Barney hits even a little better his value may go by the deadline as well. Especially a playoff contender loses a middle infielder.

    • Funn Dave

      Wait, what? Why would he be more valuable later, when he’s got half a season less of control, than now?

      • pinkstonaa

        Because his bad performance last year has his trade value as low as it could be. If he shows he can hit a little better, it’ll go up. Like Brett said in the post, Barney is being looked as a short-term type plug in, so the amount of control isn’t as important as how he is playing.

      • Cizzle

        More bidders at the deadline = more “value”

  • woody

    The fact that they sent the VP of player personell is an indication that this is a serious rumor. And Barney has had a good spring so far. Schierholtz is pretty much a proven commodity IMO, and with Bonafacio’s presence there isn’t much risk involved for the cubs moving Barney.

  • another JP

    This is a trade that is a total no-brainer actually. Not only do Nate and Barney provide a need the Tigers have immediately, neither would be a long-term solution if Detroit didn’t want to keep them. Furthermore, Schierholtz (with the Giants) and Barney (with Oregon) have been on some winning teams before the Cubs and understand the significance of the roles they play. All that remains to be seen is just what Theo or Jed would ask for in return- I assume Ray and Thompson would be off limits unless a Cub prospect was also included

  • Cerambam

    Considering the nice performance from Kalish this spring, Schierholtz could *potentially* be more expendable. Also, it’s looking ever more likely that Olt makes the team out of camp allowing some combination of bonifacio or the murphy/valbuena platoon to cover for barney at 2nd.

  • ssckelley

    Damn, I will really hate the Cubs lineup even more if Schierholtz is out of it. I am starting to like this Kalish guy, but the thoughts of a Ruggiano, Lake/Sweeney, and Kalish outfield kinda turns my stomach.

    What the hell am I thinking, top 10 pick in 2015 baby!!!!!!

    • Cerambam

      The sick thing is, the more I remind myself that the cubs are most likely going to be terrible this year, the more I think, “Well, i guess it will be pretty cool to have a top ten pick 5 years in a row.”

      • ssckelley

        Since Schierholtz is only under contract for this season there is a slim chance he ends up a Cub after the TDL anyway. I just keep holding out hope that the Cubs will pull off some miracle and surprise us a little this season.

        But seeing how little I get interested in watching a spring training game that features the MLB regulars I might prefer to mow the yard over watching the Cubs this summer. I am only going to make that trip to Des Moines so many times this summer!

    • jp3

      Top 10? With that OF you mentioned we’re picking in the top 3 easy. Trade smardj and we’ll be duking it out with the stros for the top pick.

      • willis

        Yeah, this roster has #1 or #2 pick all over it.

        • TK

          Im not so sure of that. Offensively speaking, I think we have to expect that Castro and Rizzo will both rebound to some degree this year. Its looking more and more likely that Olt will be our 3B, which should be an upgrade from last year. If so, Id expect Barney to get less pt at 2B, in favor of Valbo & Murph . . . Until Baez comes up, which will likely happen in July and will actually IMPROVE the team. The only place you could look at and say we should be worse than last year is LF, but don’t be fooled . . . Sori wasn’t all that good the 1st 1/2 – he came on strong toward mid-season. Then he was gone. Our BP should be MUCH better than it was the 1st 1/2 last year. In addition to Baez, its also reasonable to think we could see 1 or 2 other top prospects called up mid-season, like Alcantara, whom, although young and therefore likely to not be at max potential, could still be upgrade over the player being replaced. BP is better. Offense should be better. The question is how will SP do? But I see us being 5th – 8th pick, possibly even sliding all the way to 10th if SP is good.

    • Assman22

      Chances of Barney being shipped are much higher than Schierholtz…Cubs asking price is less than that of Franklin to boot…FO busy busy the past few days…Theo however has yet to check in on Jacob Turner…

      • Jim

        Isn’t Turner on the Marlins?

      • C. Steadman

        How do you know Theo hasn’t checked on Turner?

  • Norm

    If I were the Tigers I’d ask for Bonifacio instead of Barney.

    • Crockett

      Bonafacio can’t play SS.

  • ibcnu2222

    How about Robby Ray and Jake Thompson for Barney and Nate?

    • Isaac

      Absolutely no chance Barney/Nate bring back someone as quality as Ray…let alone another piece.

    • another JP

      Dombrowski would never do that. Maybe one of them for Barney/Nate, and even that’s a stretch.

      But all Detroit news outlets are reporting this morning that Iglesias may be done for the season. Now’s the time to deal.

    • Javier Bryant

      Replace Ray with Crosby and you might have yourself a deal

    • rcleven

      I doubt Ray. Tompson is interesting along with another low level prospect like Crawford.

  • The Real Wrigley

    Nate/Barney are NOT bringing a very good return. Please understand this. Probably good enough for 2 lottery tickets.

    • another JP

      I can’t agree with you there. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Cubs ended up with a couple arms like Arrieta/Strop or Grimm/Ramirez out of the deal.

      • Funn Dave

        How? Neither Barney nor Schierholtz would start daily on a championship-calibur MLB team. The pitchers you mentioned just might.

  • frank

    What? What?! You don’t think they’ll give up Verlander, Cabrera, and Porcello? Ok then–no deal!!

  • dAn

    I suspect the Cubs would rather bring back higher end A ball talent than AA/AAA pitching for Schierholtz/Barney. I don’t think they’re going to get an elite arm for those two, and the Cubs are already very crowded with good-not-great pitching prospects at AA/AAA.

    On the other hand, they have gone very pitching-heavy in the last couple of drafts, and I could see them popping a couple of A ball position player types in return for those guys. Cubs’ didn’t have much offense on the short season teams last year, except for Bryant and Hannemann while they were with Boise.

  • CubsFanSaxMan

    You never know what kind of return you might get when you are dealing with a team that might be feeling a little desperate. That’s how teams get good returns in July at the trade deadline. It looks like both Barney and Schierholtz together would make a good pair for the Tigers. A couple of up and coming pitchers would make for a good deal for the Cubs. As much as I like both Barney and Schierholtz they are becoming expendable. Both of them would love (I bet) to go to a playoff contending team. Pull the trigger Theo!

  • woody

    With the DH the Tigers could afford Barney’s bat in the lineup. And truthfully if you look at last year as an outlier then it’s not too great of a risk.

  • E

    The Tigs have plenty of weird, high-ceiling, low-A pitching prospects. They could give 4 of them and not hurt themselves. That said, I think it will end up being a 2 for 2 swap.

  • josh ruiter

    I think we may be able to get Smyly in that deal. They have if anything a surplus of pitching in the minors but no one to step up in the field. I could also see a combo of Crawford, Ray, Thompson getting the job done and maybe including McCann as an immediate catching prospect for us to put in AA or AAA.

  • MightyBear

    The Phillies were also scouting the Tiger prospects. Maybe they trade JRoll to the Tigers.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Rollins has 10-5 rights and says he is “untradeable.” He’s a prima donna cancer that doesn’t intend to leave Philadelphia. He’s also 60 hits short of surpassing Mike Schmidt’s franchise record for hits. Oh, and he is grossly overpaid for what he is these days.

  • JakeMac

    Man, I can’t wait for the first Obsessive Trade Watch of the season.

  • candyland07

    If and when a deal is made . The best part, is that two roster spots will open on the 25 man roster as well as the 40 man roster.

    Barney and Schierholtz are two main culprits in why the Cubs are just terrible on offense last year . Barney Glove and Schierholtz occasional power does nothing for the Cubs. Trade them for a bag a peanuts ( kidding ) trade them for a raw hurt prospect ( the real win is the roster spots and the savings in salary) trade . give them away while we can. But honestly the real win is the extra roster spots and any prospect the Cubs can get is gravy..

    • Blackhawks1963

      Schierholz isn’t a star, but he’s a good ballplayer and an asset to the Cubs right now. Ideally he should be platooned however. But hard not to like a guy who plays hard, is a good right fielder, and chips in with a decent blend of hitting, OBP and extra base pop. To assume Kalish can automatically replace what Schierholz is delivering is a leap of faith I’m not prepared to take. Kalish is a nothing until proven otherwise on the major league stage.

  • B_Scwared

    I wonder if Jeimer Candelerio was being showcased the other night?

  • Ballgame17

    Like I was suggesting the other day, would adding Shark to the Tigers entice them to do a

    Tigers get:

    Cubs get:
    -Drew Smyly
    -Rick Porcello

    • Edwin

      I think Porcello might be better than you’re giving him credit for. If it was just Shark for Porcello, I think Detroit might hesitate to pull the trigger. Giving up Smyly as well probably pushes them too far. I’d say Shark, Barney, and Schierholtz for Porcello and a prospect or Smyly and a prospect seems more likely. Not both.