Sure, it’s Draft Day, but the Lukewarm Stove is always nice and … well … lukewarm.
- Given the Cubs’ organizational catching situation - even setting aside an injury to Welington Castillo that brought up Eli Whiteside as the team’s backup – you’ve got to figure that any time a reasonable catching option hits the market, they’ll be interested. For that reason, I don’t think I’m taking too much of a leap to say that recently DFA’d Rockies catcher Jordan Pacheco is probably on the team’s radar. Pacheco, 28, has played a great deal for the Rockies over the past few years, but, let’s be quite clear, he’s light at the plate - .281/.317/.379 with a 78 OPS+ – but he’s versatile, playing at the corners in the infield, in addition to catching. Behind the plate, the metrics suggest he’s just OK, but, given the Cubs’ situation, you’d think that would be fine. Pacheco is pre-arbitration, so there’s not a lot of expense. I also don’t think there would be a great deal of expense in acquiring him, if it took a trade at all (the Cubs could simply wait to see if he’s placed on waivers, they would have priority on a claim over every team except the Rays (depending on their records when he’s actually waived)).
- That report about the Cubs seeking competitive balance pick(s) in a Jeff Samardzija deal – i.e., a trade before today – struck me as dicey, and Jed Hoyer tells Carrie Muskat that it was “totally false.” As I guessed then, I’ll guess now: the Cubs probably had some interest in picking up a competitive balance pick this week (why not?), but the connection between that and Jeff Samardzija trade talks probably got a little muddied up in the rumor mill. If something sounds just a bit off about a rumor, 9 times out of 10, something is just a bit off.
- Speaking of Samardzija, Dejan Kovacevic argues that the Pirates should be getting back into things, and going hard after a starting pitcher (like Samardzija or David Price). After getting on a little hot streak, the Pirates are just a few games under .500, 6.5 back in the NL Central, but just a few back in the Wild Card.
- Ben Badler writes about a dream Japanese pitching match-up, with 19-year-old future ace Shohei Otani facing 26-year-old future MLB pitcher (probably) Kenta Maeda. Badler suggests Maeda remains likely to become available to MLB teams after this season. He’s not expected to be a Darvish/Tanaka front-of-the-rotation type (but neither was Hisashi Iwakuma, for what that’s worth), but is expected to be a legit big league starter. Seems likely that the Cubs would be involved.
- Speaking of thinking ahead, Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Rockies should deal Carlos Gonzalez to get some pieces for the future (and to clear out some payroll and outfield space). Rosenthal is thinking more in terms of in-season, but, if the Rockies waited until the offseason, would the Cubs be involved? Gonzalez turns 29 in October, has extreme home/road splits, and stands to make $16, $17, and $20 million from 2015 to 2017. Still interested? I kind of am.
- Rosenthal also suggests that the Cardinals could surprisingly be in the market for a starting pitcher this Summer, which would be good news for the Cubs. Why? For one thing, depleting their farm system for a short-term piece is very good for the Cubs, given that they won’t be in the race this year. For another, since the Cubs are very unlikely to deal with the Cardinals on one of their own pitcher pieces, having the Cardinals take a non-Cubs arm off of the market is good for the Cubs’ own efforts. Hope Rosenthal is right on this one.