lukewarm stoveAre the sell-happy Cubs a perfect fit for the injury-sad Tigers? Well, maybe in one spot, at least.

The Tigers, who lose Jose Iglesias for the year, have very likely picked up their shortstop fill-in after trading a decent young arm (Jose Alvarez) for Austin Romine, a glove-heavy shortstop formerly with the Angels. I can’t help but wonder if the Tigers were looking to deal someone like Alvarez (a 24-year-old lefty who could maybe be a 5th starter, but likely a middle reliever) for a fill-in, and they were going to take what they could get.It probably wouldn’t have been enough for Darwin Barney (or at least not enough to make the Cubs pull the trigger), so that may have ended talks early, despite recent rumors.

Interestingly, the same day, the Tigers lost setup man Bruce Rondon to Tommy John surgery, so they could now also be in the market for another relief arm. The primary one the Cubs have to peddle is James Russell, but the Tigers look pretty set on lefties. What they need is a righty power arm, probably, and, although the Cubs have plenty, I don’t think the Cubs have any clearly-established and reliable ones (the only kind the Tigers would want) they’d want to move right now. We’ll see if something shakes out.

The Tigers have yet to pick up an outfielder to replace Andy Dirks, who’ll miss much of the season with a back issue. And, on that point, Jon Heyman is pushing hard for the Tigers to make a move for Cubs outfielder Nate Schierholtz. A scout tells Heyman that “Schierholtz fits the Tigers perfectly,” which is undoubtedly true, given their need for a lefty corner outfield bat. Schierholtz brings pop, good defense, and a short-term, inexpensive contract ($5 million for this year).

From the Cubs’ perspective, it might be hard to surrender one of the few reliable bats in the lineup just before the season starts, but with another season that looks to be about accumulating young assets, the Cubs are probably willing to take the right deal for Schierholtz whenever it comes up (query whether they can get a better deal by waiting until the deadline, though). Further, although I don’t think any of the fill-ins would totally replace Schierholtz’s production, the Cubs do have other interesting outfielders to slide into the regular rotation (including Ryan Kalish).

If the Tigers were willing to give up a quality pitching prospect or two, the Cubs may have to consider making a move. Of course, it’s really just a matter of how desperate the Tigers are right now.

  • CubsFanSaxMan

    Dealing with a desperate team can often times be a good thing. I like Schierholtz, but the outfield is crowded at the moment. If he can get the Cubs a nice return (you know, due to desperation) then go for it.

  • Assman22

    Beede/Rodon both had short brutal outings last night…both were also victims of terrible defense behind them…Beede had a rough time locating his pitches…Hoffman again was less than impressive…Nola and Wetzler continue to up their stocks; each with another shutout…

    Beede: 2.2IP, 6H, 5ER, 2K, 5BB
    Rodon: 4.2IP, 6H, 0ER, 8K, 4BB
    Hoffman: 7IP, 6H, 3ER, 2K, 2BB

    Nola: 6.2IP, 2H, 0ER, 8K, 4BB
    Wetzler: 7IP, 2H, 0ER, 8K, 1BB

    • Isaac

      It seems a little unfair to lump an 8K, 0ER outing to a 2K, 5ER outing….Sure, 4.2IP isn’t ideal, but he certainly didn’t have awful results.

      • NorthSideIrish

        The four walks are concerning and he only threw 66 strikes in 118 pitches, so it was disappointing from a command perspective. He gave up 5 unearned runs, so he wasn’t able to pitch his way out of trouble. Plus, reports had his velocity down as well, which is concerning for a guy with some history of back problems.

        • Isaac

          Sure, but “concerning” and “brutal” are two very different things. I think there are plenty of positives to take from an outing that he didn’t have plus command, and still did not surrender an earned run.

    • Luke

      I would consider this good news. Maybe a few rough outings will scare enough teams off that one of the two (Beede or Rodon) will slip to the Cubs.

      • Isaac

        Agreed…it’s exciting.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Rondon barring injury, has no shot to fall down to the Cubs 4th pick. Don’t feed the dream. If it did though then it would be awesome but still HIGHLY unlikely to happen

        • Kyle

          He really doesn’t seem to be that highly thought of anymore.

          • Serious Cubs Fan

            I agree, the media pretty much praise him the second coming Kershaw, but I still think he’s a safe enough pick that teams like the Astros who most always go for the safer pick with their first pick (hence taking Appel over Gray & Bryant) and the White Sox would almost definitely snatch him up with the 3rd pick because they love their college player because they are safe and easier to sign. I don’t see the White Sox taking the chance with Kolek and I don’t see the Astros picking Kolek #1 overall so the Marlins would be the major player taking the Kolek. But my guesses are all speculation and guessing based on teams draft history and styles. We have no clue till closer too the draft

    • NorthSideIrish

      I saw KLaw released his first set of draft rankings yesterday and has Aiken #1, which I think is a bit of a reach. He’s got Kolek-Rodon-Beede next with Hoffman at #6. I’d love for one of Beede or Hoffman to be there at 1.4. Even with the struggles, I can’t picture Rodon making it past the White Sox at #3.

      • Luke

        I’m not sold on Hoffman. Beede would be my choice today, and good lefties are so hard to find that I’d take Rodon if he fell. Kolek makes me nervous, but I don’t think he’ll get to the Cubs regardless (unless he gets hurt, in which case he’ll fall well past the Cubs (think Giolito)).

        If not Beede, I’d probably lean towards that pitcher in Oregon or one of the high school bats over Turner.

        • ssckelley

          Turner needs to get hot or he may slip out of the top 10. Not to many teams will take a chance with a high #1 pick on a college player only hitting .733 and best tool is his speed.

        • NorthSideIrish

          Hoffman is so athletic and has such an easy delivery that I think I would have him ahead of Beede. Plus that curveball is just nasty…true 12-to-6 break on it. But I wouldn’t be the least bit upset if the Cubs took Beede. He has great stuff and is a hard worker, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up the best SP of the three college arms.

          Kolek almost shouldn’t be allowed to play against those other high school kids. He’s enormous, throws 100+, and last I saw, he had only allowed 1 BB and ZERO hits this season. Turner has really fallen off lately and I think Gatewood has too. Alex Jackson’s power is definitely intriguing though, even if he ends up in RF.

          • Luke

            I don’t see any team taking Jackson and not immediately moving him away from catcher. The wear and tear of that position make it a bad fit for premium bats.

            • NorthSideIrish

              He’s got a quick release and a strong arm, but he definitely gets moved away from catcher. Staying behind the plate would slow his development down as well and split his focus. He’s the only prep bat in the Top 10 right now…and I think Zimmer has passed Turner as the top college bat. Pitching is really looking like the strength of this class all of a sudden.

              • Luke

                I’m not sure if I’d jump Zimmer up that far yet, but if I remember right, the Cubs drafted him out of high school. I think that was Hendry’s final draft, though, and pre-Theo.

                • NorthSideIrish

                  I think it’s more of a case of Turner dropping back than Zimmer moving up. And I was high on Turner when the season started.

                  I don’t remember it, but Zimmer does sound like a Hendry pick…big athletic toolsy OFer.

    • Soda Popinski

      Has anybody heard anything on Touki Toussaint? I’ve heard he has hit 97 and his breaking ball looks so nasty on mlb’s top prospects. If he has a good spring he should be mentioned with the others in the top few picks.

      • Soda Popinski

        Sorry. Link should be to top 50 draft- not cubs top 20.

      • Luke

        Coming into the amateur season I was higher on Toussaint than any other high school arm. I’m not sure I’d still stick with that opinion, but he is one I’m continuing to watch. No. 4 strikes me as slightly high for Toussaint right now, but I think he’ll be in the mix for Top 10 for sure.

        • Soda Popinski

          Thanks, Luke. Any word on his season so far?

          • Soda Popinski

            Yyyyyeah, that was dumb. haha.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          Even higher then Kolek? Toussaints arm is electric but Kolek has the elect arm, stuff and the build you like to see in a front line starter. Kolek just looks the part of 230inning SP warrior.

          I think Toussaints secondary stuff has more bite though

  • MightyBear

    Mike Olt is starting at third today.

  • King Jeff

    Err, that’s Andrew Romine. Austin is the Yankee catching prospect, right?

  • ssckelley

    Not sure the Cubs needed a fringy starting AAA pitcher even if he is a lefty, plus he takes a spot on the 40 man.

  • bobdawg78

    We can still move Barney and Schierholtz. Barney could still be moved to the Yankees, and Nate to the Tigers. I’d love to throw in one of our RP with Nate to help clear our clog of bullpen arms. Would they want Strop? Is Veras able to be traded yet? I’d prefer to see Russell go, but if they insisted on Strop or Veras, I’m cool with it, because this is a lost season, and which ever of the 2 they don’t trade for, the remaining guy can be our closer.

    • Javier Bryant

      Barney to the Phillies…

    • farmerjon

      Parker could go as well…sell high on him

    • candyland07

      The Yanks dont need Barney. I doubt any team is desperate to pay 2.2 million dollars for a gold glove second baseman with a minor league bat. One can almost give any triple /double A prospect a chance in the big leagues and almost get the same results while paying 1.7 million dollars cheaper.

      I suspect the Cubs would either not eat salary / or they feel Barney Glove should be the main motivator to get better players in a trade. Barney is just a weak player . his glove will not be missed and once his position is given to a different player the Cubs will improve 10 to 20 points on OBP alone and when the Cubs can get rid of Nat. THats 5 to 10 points as well .

      Those two bats really hurt the Cubs.

  • Javier Bryant

    Maybe the Tigers wait until the trade deadline for a guy like Schierholtz, when there are more options out there

  • Spoda17

    Yesterday on MLB radio (can you tell what I listen to at work all day…), Jim Bowden lamented for a long time why the Dodgers need Barney… He made some really good points, and I think the Dodgers are going to be desperate soon…

  • ssckelley

    I think we all need to accept the fact that Barney is going to be our starting 2nd baseman for the start of the season. Coming off a horrible season at the plate he needs to reestablish himself as a hitter. If he returns to hitting the way he did in 2011 or 2012 then the Cubs might get more than a bag of balls for him.

    Schierholtz remains a possibility to be traded if the Tigers offered the right deal. I would think the Tigers would want to make the deal happen now so Schierholtz can start the season with the Tigers. There is an outside possibility the Tigers could get a compensation pick if he leaves via free agency.

  • Javier Bryant

    Wow. Blake Parker to Triple A, kind of surprising.

  • smackafilieyo

    Bye Baez!! Till June…

  • Lou Brown

    With Parker out of the mix, what are we looking at: Veras, Russel, Wright, Cabrera, Rondon, Strop, and Villanueva?

  • RoscoeVillageFan

    Barney has reached his ceiling . He’s never gonna be more than what he is. I think we (cubs fans) tend to overvalue him. If we get any prospects for him, I’ll consider it a good deal for the cubs

  • Funn Dave

    Good analysis. You’re right about our relievers–many of them could be good, but none of them are established enough for a playoff-bound team to really be interested. One would think, anyway.

  • Crockett

    Keith Law just DESTROYED Tseng and Jiminez in a write-up. With not very much good to say about Rob Z either.

    This like…one week…after the rest of the scouting world drooled over Tseng. Very odd.

    • Drew7

      I feel as though Law does tend to enjoy taking a contrarian stance on guys like that. Certainly a reason to temper expectations.

      • Luke

        Eh. Law has freely admitted that his scouting process goes like this:

        1 – Watch player for a few minutes.
        2 – Form immediate opinion based on pretty much the first thing he sees.
        3 – Chisel that opinion in granite.
        4 – Make the player force him to shift that opinion in the slightest.

        He thinks his snap judgements are good enough that this works for him, and I suppose it does well enough. But last spring he watched two at bats of Vogelbach and almost completely wrote him off as having, if I remember right, a terrible eye, stiff wrists, and a very slow bat. Meanwhile, nearly the entirety of the rest of the prospect world praised Vogelbach for the very things Law ripped him on almost point for point. Who was right? Well, as the season showed, it wasn’t Law.

        In the case of Tseng, when multiple other experts are flatly contradicting Law, I’m not worried. Law may turn out to be right, but we won’t know for some time yet. And the BP guys weren’t exactly muted in their praise, either.

        Jiminez… I think someone else said he dropped the “slow bat” judgement on him as well. If that means he thinks Jiminez is comparable to Vogelbach at the plate, I’d be pretty happy. Vogelbach seems to be working out pretty well so far. It could also mean that Jiminez has all the ceiling of Bryan LaHair, but I’m not going to dismiss him solely because he failed the Law Snap Judgement Test.

        Law is very good at what he does, but you always have to keep in mind how he goes about it. If a player looks bad in a particular half hour, it could easily result in Law ripping him to shreds. And if a complete non-prospect has a really good at bat while Law is watching, he may well be praised to the stars as a sleeper candidate no one else is watching. You’ve just to take Law as one of many voices and not lean to heavily on what he says exclusively.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          KLaw also is trying to gather data on as many minor leaguers as possible, whereas most scouts focus on particular players. That is part of what gives us smoke for potential trades: when we read that scouts from Team X are watching prospects from Team Y, then we have all the more reason to suspect that Team X might be trading a veteran to Team Y soon. KLaw probably knows more about those prospects at that time than the Team X scouts do because, well, they are focussed on Team X or Prospects from Teams Z, W, V, etc. on different trades. Also, they then are going to focus on just 4-5 guys, not a dozen or more!

          • Luke

            Absolutely. There are very good reasons for Law adopting the methodology he has adopted, although I think he does rush to judgement both good and bad often enough to warrant caution.

            If he wrote that Bryant was the best hitter since Babe Ruth I would greet the pronouncement with equal reserve.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Hmmm, your definition of “destroyed” is a bit broad! KLaw views Jimenez as very much work-in-progress: KLaw suggests that Jimenez will probably develop the arm and wrist strength needed for a quicker swing, but that he (Jimenez) doesn’t have it yet. KLaw does see great strength there.

      KLaw is “meh” about Tseng. KLaw stresses that Taiwanese pitching prospects have really bad track records State-side, but it seems that the sample size is still tiny.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      KLaw is a very good talent evaluator but also someone who loves to get a rise out of fans. ESPECIALLY Cubs fans. Not sure if anyone still remember the Junior Lake’s younger days.

      He would never write something just to get a rise out of ppl though, when he likes someone he tends to show much praise but when he dislikes what he sees he tends to be very critical/harsh which tends to IRK the heck out of fans and specifically we Cubs Fans

      • brainiac

        whenever law is on espn he has trouble talking to women anchors and his hair always looks like it was just-washed after two weeks of not showering. i love that guy.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          Haha that sounds like your prototypical scout in the minors

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Any chance the Tigers would trade pitching prospect Jonathan Crawford for Schierholtz? I know Crawford was 2013 draft pick so he can’t “officially” be traded till after the 2014 draft takes place but they could call it a “Player to be named Later Trade” and have a secret deal for it to be Crawford. It would be a steap price for Schierholtz one deal, but he’s cheap and solid player and they need his bat right now