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old stove featureEven in Draft Week, there are rumors to discuss …

  • Carlos Villanueva spoke at length with Cubs.com about the culture of baseball trades, and playing on a team where a trade is possible at any moment. As a veteran swing-man who’ll make just about $2.5 million in the second half of the season before becoming a free agent, Villanueva remains a theoretically trade candidate. He’s not likely to bring back a top piece on his own, but he does have value to a contender, because of the swing ability, and because of his generally consistent performance out of the bullpen. His comment on being traded evokes memories of “Hugs” over the past few years: “It would be really hard for me if it happens. I’ve fallen in love with what the Cubs are; I relate to it a lot. I try not to think about it often because it would be a really sad day. If it happens, I hope it happens when I’m not on the field, so I’m not crying all over people when I have to say bye to people.” That’s the human side of our rumor and trade obsession, folks. Don’t forget that it’s there. I have to fight myself sometimes.
  • Should the White Sox go after Jeff Samardzija? That’s the question the Sun-Times asks – which I totally understand, given their beat and the city connection – and I share it here, rather than in a Samardzija-specific piece, because it’s just kind of a fluffy thing. The answer is a shrug of the shoulders, and a quickly mumbled, “Doesn’t matter.” The White Sox don’t have the bullets to acquire Samardzija, at least not when stacked up against other bidders. And I happen to be of the opinion that the White Sox are in for a significant second-half swoon, and Samardzija isn’t going to stop that. Trading for him would be a mistake for the White Sox. So, I mean, whatever – discuss it if you’d like to. But I don’t see anything of merit there.
  • In his piece yesterday that included the Jeff Samardzija draft pick trade bit (discussed here earlier), Jeff Passan got into quite a bit more rumor-y goodness. James Shields comes in for heavy discussion, and Passan argues that the Royals simply have to trade him. I tend to agree, which is something of a bummer, because he does present the most attractive rental option out there. Passan gets into Jason Hammel a bit in that same context, but understandably puts Hammel a solid tier below Shields.
  • Separately, Passan contends that, when it comes to the non-rental market (i.e., Jeff Samardzija and David Price), Price is going to net the Rays more than Shields did from the Royals. If the Rays do trade Price, that would surprise me very much – sure, Price is the better pitcher, and is a couple years younger now than Shields was then, but Price will cost nearly double what Shields did in salary, and the Royals got Shields for two full years. Price, if traded, would give just a year and a half. And there are injury concerns with Price that didn’t exist for Shields. Keep in mind: the Rays got a top three prospect in all of baseball, PLUS a top 100 prospect, PLUS two other legit prospects for Shields and Wade Davis.
  • Passan also discusses Justin Masterson as a rental (not looking great right now), and Matt Kemp as a salary dump, among other things. Very good, long read.
  • The Marlins have added another bullpen piece, and it’s a familiar face – for them and for Cubs fans – in Kevin Gregg. He gets a big league deal for the pro-rated portion of $2.1 million, so the Marlins clearly believe he can be the guy he was last year for the Cubs. Further, the Marlins are clearly trying to hang around this year. So far, they’re doing it on the cheap (with Gregg and draft pick tradee Bryan Morris), but you do wonder if this signals a willingness to make a bigger move come July.

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